There are many exotic animal pathogens throughout the world that, if introduced into the United States, could have a significant detrimental impact on the health of livestock, agricultural economy, the environment, and public health. Many of these pathogens are arthropod-borne and potential vectors are readily available in the United States. A number of these arthropod-borne pathogens are discussed here as examples that illustrate the potential risk and the consequences of inadvertent introductions. Several International agencies have a role in global surveillance and in controlling animal diseases should they begin to expand their range. The risk to the United States is considerable. We propose that the United States invest in the improved infrastructure needed to reduce the risk of foreign arthropod-borne pathogens. Current U.S. programs focus on the exclusion of pathogens through regulation of animal movements and products, surveillance, especially trained animal disease diagnosticians, research support, international cooperation and, should pathogens enter our country, the resources for their prompt eradication. We suggest that the United States needs to develop a comprehensive, updated strategic plan to assess all aspects of current and future requirements, objectives, and resources needed to protect its national interests.
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