USDA Mission at Plum Island
the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, USDA is responsible for research
and diagnosis to protect the nation's animal industries and exports from
catastrophic economic losses caused by foreign animal disease (FAD) agents
accidentally or deliberately introduced into the U.S.
In the U.S., certain highly infectious foreign animal diseases, such
as foot-and-mouth disease, can be studied only at Plum Island.
USDA's mission at Plum Island is carried out jointly by scientists and
support staff of the department's Agricultural Research Service and Animal
and Plant Health Inspection Service. ARS is responsible for the research;
APHIS, for diagnosis.
Together, the two agencies scientists work to
- Develop new strategies to prevent and control foreign or emerging
animal disease epidemics through a better understanding of the nature
of infectious organisms; their pathogenesis in susceptible animals;
the host immune responses; the development of novel vaccines; and the
development and improvement of diagnostic tests.
- Conduct diagnostic investigations of suspected cases of foreign or
emerging animal diseases in the United States, or in countries abroad
through cooperation with animal health international organizations.
- Test imported animals and animal products to assure they are free
of foreign animal disease agents.
- Assess risks involved in importation of animals and animal products
from countries where epidemic FADs occur.
- Produce and maintain materials used in diagnostic tests for foreign
- Test and evaluate vaccines for foreign animal diseases, and maintain
the North American foot-and-mouth disease vaccine bank.
- Train veterinarians and animal health professionals in the diagnosis
and recognition of foreign animal diseases through courses at PIADC
and at other domestic and international locations.