"Blue moon": Rift Valley Fever simulation exercise

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Lu, 05/24/2010 (Toute la journée) - Je, 05/27/2010 (Toute la journée)
St Croix, United States Virgin Islands

As part of the State Emergency Preparedness and the Federal National Response Plan (NRP) initiatives, the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) Department of Agriculture Veterinary Services (VS), in conjunction with the USDA-APHIS-VS PR Area Office and the University of Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine, has developed a tabletop exercise for May 2010. The main purpose is to enhance USVI Animal Health Emergency Management Systems. This unprecedented initiative will help USVI evaluate current inter-agency communication processes and can be a good example for other countries to follow. IICA, in partnership with USDA and CIRAD, will be participating in this simulation in order to provide further training opportunities for the participants of the VEP project.


Dr. Paul Gibbs, Professor of Virology at the University of Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. José H. Urdaz, Area Emergency Coordinator for PR and USVI, Dr. Bethany Bradford, Director of Veterinary Services in USVI, and Dr. Amy Delgado, Agricultural Health and Food Safety Specialist from IICA, are leading the development, coordination, and, facilitation of a tabletop exercise based on an outbreak of the disease rift valley fever (RVF) in the Caribbean.


RVF is a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes of the genus Aedes that affects sheep, goats, and cattle. It is fatal for lambs, kids, and calves (up to 90%). In addition, it is highly contagious and potentially fatal to humans, often resulting in severe flu-like symptoms. This disease is in third position in the list of possible agricultural terrorist threats after Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and Avian Influenza (AI). It is found throughout Africa but recent outbreaks have occurred in Saudi Arabia and Yemen affecting 11,000 people (124 fatal cases) and 6,000 people (121 fatal cases), respectively. Although the virus does not exist in the Caribbean, numerous mosquitoes species exist, which could provide the means for the disease to spread easily among animal and human populations.


Goals of the table top exercise 

- Increase awareness of non-veterinary agencies to the various foreign animal diseases that may affect the Caribbean Region.

- Assess current inter-agency communication skills and availability of resources.

- Verify if current Standard Operating Procedures for Emergency Response Programs (ERP) involving Foreign Animal Diseases (FADs) for USVI are based on valid assumptions.

- To provide participants with hands-on experience in the implementation of ICS


Specifications of the exercise

- The exercise will focus on multi-agency coordination at a state-level (please see list of potential participating agencies).

- The exercise will be structured to include domestic animal, human health, and wildlife components.

- Exercise materials will be provided by contractor and are to include at a minimum, an exercise manual for each attendee (50-70 participants in USVI) pertaining to the exercise presentation, matching PowerPoint for utilization at the State Emergency Operations Center and educational materials on Rift Valley Fever.

- Exercise facilitators and moderators will be provided by contractor.

- Within 30 days after the completion of the exercise an after-action report will be provided that provides a short narrative of the exercise, and recommendations gathered by observations and participant input.

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