Submitted to: Emerging Infectious Diseases
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/17/2007
Publication Date: 8/1/2007
Citation: Britch, S.C., Linthicum, K. 2007. Developing a research agenda and a comprehensive national prevention and response plan for Rift Valley fever in the U.S. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 13(8): Interpretive Summary: In this report we summarize discussions from a 2006 meeting of the Rift Valley fever (RVF) working group, an unfunded interagency entity. The RVF working group used the 2006 meeting to address a series of issues critical to protecting the U.S. from the arrival of RVF. The group identified needed research, namely in vaccine and diagnostics development, examined challenges and pitfalls related to RVF surveillance in the U.S., and developed an outline to RVF prevention and preparation plans for the U.S. The RVF working group agreed to draft a white paper exploring these points in greater detail and made plans to meet again in 2007. One important conclusion of the meeting was that interagency, cooperative efforts will benefit all and that the working group should make efforts to generalize the partnership built around RVF to include many other mosquito-borne emerging pathogen threats to the U.S.
Technical Abstract: The invasion and rapid spread of West Nile virus (WNV) across the U.S. demonstrated our vulnerability to emerging mosquito-borne viruses, but also showed our ability to identify weaknesses and develop strategies to reduce them. For example, although many counties already had vector and disease surveillance programs the arrival of WNV compelled many more communities to initiate them. Unfortunately, the protective infrastructure that grew during our reaction to WNV dissolves as funding is repositioned to new threats. With each new threat public health agencies are charged with response plans and disbursement of funds into a tangled web of bench scientists and boots on the ground. Two key shortfalls in our approach to emerging disease threats come out of this. New committees and infrastructure are formed to deal with new threats reactively and wheels are reinvented, and agencies tend to work independently, so wheels are reinvented in parallel. On December 5, 2006, the APHIS Centers for Epidemiology and Animal Health in Fort Collins, Colorado, hosted a multi-agency working group formed to confront the issue of Rift Valley fever (RVF) with an awareness of these shortfalls.