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What happens if an outbreak is confirmed?

If the presence of an exotic disease is confirmed, the CFIA may immediately order the quarantine of the infected farm. For many exotic diseases all neighbouring farms where susceptible animals are found may also be quarantined. The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada may define a Control Area within which the movement of susceptible animals and potentially contaminated material may be prohibited, except with expressed authorization from the CFIA. Animals from infected farms may be slaughtered and disposed of in an appropriate manner. These provisions may be maintained until the disease is controlled. Veterinarians from CFIA will be the first people to intervene in the field. Furthermore, emergency management organizations, the provincial government, the police force, security and even military services may be required by the government in case of an outbreak requiring complex large-scale action, including vaccination campaigns, the destruction of a significant number of animals, widespread prohibition of movement within the Control Area, etc.

In the event of an epidemic, an efficient traceability system for animals, meat, semen, and embryos will allow a rapid identification of potentially contaminated sites.

Emergency vaccination within a specific targeted area may be considered under explicit outbreak conditions (such as Foot-and-Mouth disease). Factors such as the efficiency, the cost and the availability of the vaccines, the type of disease strains to be controlled, the ease at which a vaccinated animal could be recognized from a diseased animal, societal values and the economic impact on exportation of agricultural products, will be carefully assessed.

In the event of an outbreak of a highly contagious exotic disease, such as Foot-and-Mouth disease, pre-emptive slaughter of known animals sold from infected farms may be essential to control the outbreak. In addition, high risk concentration of swine in the infected area may be declared infected premises and targeted for pre-emptive slaughter if necessary.

All the exotic diseases listed above are regulated under the Health of Animals Act and subject to eradication in Canada.