Animals migrate to Florida by air, land, sea and cargo carrier making the state’s productive livestock/poultry industry and populous wildlife susceptible to foreign animal diseases and other emerging microbes.
A foreign animal disease is one which is believed to be absent from the United States and its territories, but is infectious to livestock or poultry and has the potential to cause a significant health or economic impact. Once an infection has been introduced, the spreading can be rapid between animals and farms.
One animal disease that the United States has to pay particular attention to is African Swine Fever, a highly contagious viral disease of pigs. Florida is considered one of the states where the virus of ASF is most likely to be introduced.
Foreign animal diseases effect more than livestock production. The threat of disease in one state alone can shut down a country’s ability to export animals and animal-related products. The loss of animal life can be devastating and economic costs related to disease control and eradication can reach millions of dollars. The damage resulting from foreign animal disease does not stop with the agriculture industry; economic disturbances include limited travel and apprehension among vacationers to visit the Sunshine State.