University of California-Davis Center for Animal Disease Modeling and Surveillance in the School of Veterinary Medicine is asking livestock producers to participate in an online survey.

Survey responses will help researchers compile data on animal movements and husbandry practices and use them in a simulation model to forecast the duration and magnitude of an FMD outbreak.

FMD tops the Department of Homeland Security's list for a bioterrorist attack on U.S. agriculture. "Because it spreads so quickly and it is easily transmitted, the threat of FMD to the U.S. is very serious and we need to be prepared," says Tim Carpenter, director of the study.

The study is crucial because there have been no recent cases of FMD in the United States to use as an example and as a way to predict how an outbreak might spread today. The last such occurred in 1929.

“The online survey will allow us to develop a model based on real, up-to-date data for animal movements and current practices that could determine how the disease spreads,” Carpenter says. “Only livestock producers can provide us with this information. This model would put the U.S. at the forefront in preparedness for not only foot-and-mouth but also other foreign animal diseases.”

CADMS guarantees all information will be kept confidential and will only be used for modeling purposes.

CADMS is made up of two research groups, the Global Foot-and-Mouth Disease Surveillance and Modeling Lab, led by Mark Thurmond, and the Animal Disease Modeling Lab, led by Carpenter.