Protecting Animals and People: A Joint Project to Improve Zoonotic Disease Awareness and Prevention Among Michigan Youth Involved in Agriculture

December 9, 2021

Video Transcript

 - Okay, welcome everybody. It is one o'clock. So I think we are going to get started. So welcome you all to the protecting animals and people, a joint project to improve zoonotic disease awareness and prevention among Michigan youth involved in agriculture. We're really excited to have you as a part of this webinar today. If you're just joining us, please feel free to complete the poll questions that have popped up on the screen. We have three questions that we're asking all participants to complete as a part of our webinar to get us started. My name is Erica Toby. I am the Director of the Children and Youth Institute, and I am here along with my colleagues to really talk to you today about this exciting project related to really protecting animals and people and preventing zoonotic disease spread. A couple of the things that we're going to do today. We are going to talk a little bit about what zoonotic diseases are and why they are important. And we're gonna actually hear from Dr. Kim Signs, who's with our Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. We're gonna talk a little bit about some of the educational resources for youth that have been developed as well as best practices for fair and exhibit organizers, and then end with additional resources and information about who you can access for more information within your state, as well as other resources that may be available. Talking a little bit about this youth and agricultural program. This program has funding and technical support provided by the Centers for Disease Control, as well as the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists. We are a state grantee of this grant program, and that really is a partnership with the State Public Health, Land Grant University and 4-H, youth ag groups such as 4-H and FFA, the Department of Agriculture, as well as fair board leadership in communities. So talking a little bit about this youth and ag program, wanted to provide just a little bit of background and education about this. This program objective really focuses around two main areas, youth engagement, so really helping to improve youth awareness and knowledge, developing positive actions among youth and families, as well as empowering champions of public health, as well as partnership development and local communities. And really thinking about this from a public health standpoint, to improve outbreak response, increasing member organization, communication, and collaboration, and increasing understanding of membership structure and goals that the local state and federal level. With an entire long-term desired outcome, really to improve prevention, detection and monitoring of zoonotic disease education. And Michigan has been a recipient of this grant funds for the past few years and they're really happy to kind of share some of the resources that have been developed with the funding today. Wanna share a little bit about what "One Health" is and "One Health" really is a collaborative and transdisciplinary approach that works at the local, regional, national and global levels. And really the goal of "One Health" is to achieve optimal health outcomes by recognizing the interconnection between people, animals, plants, and their shared environment. The CDC's "One Health" office lead the agencies, "One Health" efforts in the United States and abroad, and really stands by the fact of when we protect one, we protect all. It really illustrates that we're all interconnected in our world and what happens to one happens to many. And so as we think about this from an animal health perspective, and really thinking about how you can plan for fairs and animal exhibitions, our approach is really to ensure that we're protecting people, animals, the environment around them, and making sure that people are sitting at the table so that we can plan respond accordingly to ensure that we have the right people at the table, human health experts, animal health experts, as well as show managers, fair managers and others. As we've learned from this current COVID experience and crisis, health is a global concern and we can do our part to make sure that our corner of the world is healthy by communicating, collaborating, and coordinating our efforts. Here is some pictures and examples of really how this actually works in action. And again, today, we're gonna provide some resources and information for you to share a little bit about Michigan's example and what we've done in Michigan collaboratively to really spread this message and ensure that information is being shared to really prevent the spread of zoonotic disease. When we think about educating youth and agriculture, really our Michigan project has really focused on a couple of main areas. To empower Michigan youth and agricultural organizations like 4-H and FFA, to enjoy spend time with their animals while reducing the risk of novel influenza and other zoonotic diseases, as well as facilitating a more effective and efficient response. And really these have been our two major goals, as we thought about how we could provide resources and education to really raise awareness and information to ensure that we're responding to the needs as appropriate and as efficiently as we possibly can. With really this long-term desire for outcome of improving prevention, detection and monitoring these zoonotic diseases, especially emerging diseases like novel influenza with epidemic potential. Now all of this work has been funded through a cooperative agreement from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention and the Council of States Territorial Epidemiologists. And again, Michigan has been a proud recipient and we thank the CSTE as well as the CDC for this funding opportunity. We have done this in collaboration with a variety of different partners, and you're gonna hear from some of those partners today, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Mary Gray Sobieski as well as Dr. Kim Signs have really been influential in providing some support and assistance and helping us guide this project, as well as a variety of different colleagues from Michigan State University Extension, from our Community Food and Environment Institute, our Ag and Agribusiness Institute and our Children and Youth Institute, as well as we have worked collaboratively through the years with the Michigan Association of Fairs and Exhibitions and the Michigan Department of Ag and Rural Development. Many of the slides that you're gonna actually see today have been adapted from previous collaboratives presentations. And we thank everybody for their participation and collaboration. So without further ado, I'm gonna turn it over to our next speaker, Dr. Kim Signs talking to us a little bit about, what are zoonotic diseases and why are they important? Dr. Signs. - Thanks, Erica. Hello everybody and welcome. In this section, I'm gonna be talking a bit about the role of public health as it relates to zoonotic diseases, which are diseases that humans and animals share, and zoonotic influenza in particular. As Erica mentioned, the current COVID-19 pandemic provides a perfect example of why public health authorities around the world are engaged in monitoring infectious diseases in both humans and animals. Zoonotic diseases can have the potential to spark a global pandemic, as we are seeing now with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Pandemics occur when a disease agent emerges that is easily spread from person to person and the population as a whole has little or no immunity to it. Public Health authorities in Michigan have broad powers to protect human health. And when a person is sick and seeks care from a healthcare provider, they may have tests to determine the cause of their illness. Michigan Public Health laws require physicians and laboratories to report certain diseases of public health concern, generally diseases that can easily spread or cause severe illness. And they must be reported to local public health authorities. Following the receipt of these reports, public health nurses and staff will contact the person and their healthcare provider to find out more about their illness. Public health agencies have the authority to collect personal health information, but they must keep this information confidential. Public health agencies conduct surveillance in order to identify outbreaks, assure treatment, provide education about prevention, facilitate population health research, and assist with national and global surveillance efforts. While we know that providing opportunities for people to interact with animals is very valuable both for education, entertainment, as well as encouraging participation in agriculture as a career or livelihood, there are also some risks that need to be managed. And the goal of public health is to manage those risks as best we can. There are always vulnerable individuals among us that need to be considered as you plan for any event or exhibit. This may include the very young, the very old or others with underlying health issues. No event organizer wants to have the negative media attention that can follow from an outbreak linked to their event. And legal action may be a consequences of an outbreak at a public event. For these reasons and others, event organizers should take reasonable precautions to educate and protect the public. Influenza virus is a great example of a zoonotic disease threat that has global implications. Influenza is a virus that naturally infects both humans and animals and has been maintained in both populations. Birds, pigs, and humans are the primary natural hosts for influenza viruses. The strains of influenza virus associated with each different animal species can exchange genetic material with any other influenza virus, creating new combinations of genes that animals and people have no immunity to. In this way, the virus is constantly changing. This is why flu viruses that infect people, which we know as seasonal influenza are a little bit different from year to year and why the flu vaccines have to be updated and made new each year. Sometimes an animal flu virus can pick up components from a human flu virus and these new combinations can end up being viruses that spread more easily from animal to person or even person to person, potentially sparking a pandemic. Some of you may recall the H1N1 pandemic that occurred in 2009 and that virus is now become part of our regular seasonal flu and is always a component of our current flu vaccines. When people become infected with an influenza virus that circulates in animals, we call that a variant or novel influenza infection. A simpler term is zoonotic influenza. In 2012, there was a large outbreak of human cases of variant influenza infection linked to contact with infected pigs. Over 300 people were infected in 10 states. There was also evidence of person to person spread of this strain of influenza virus. Detecting person to person spread of a pathogen, particularly a virus that originated in animals is concerning. And it can be an indicator that the virus has changed in such a way that it now favors spread among people. This can lead to a pandemic. Again, the COVID-19 pandemic is an example of just such an event. The SARS-CoV-2 virus likely originated in bats, but over time changed to become more easily spread from infected person to uninfected person. People became the new source of spread of the virus. In 2016, Michigan and Ohio documented an outbreak of variant or zoonotic influenza infections among exhibitors and visitors to agricultural fairs where pigs were found to be infected with the same virus. Efforts at collaboration between animal and public health officials initiated by the youth and agriculture education grant were useful in the state and local response to that outbreak and events have occurred in subsequent years. The knowledge gained from these responses helps us refine and improve future efforts. For example, we know from recent studies of influenza and exhibit settings,  that influenza in swine can spread rapidly when pigs from different sources are housed together. This graph illustrates that influenza virus can become widespread infecting most animals in a barn within a week's time. Three days or 72 hours seems to be the break point when infection rises exponentially. This exhibit has, or this research has informed the current expert recommendation, that swine only beyond exhibit for three days to reduce the risk for spread of influenza virus among both pigs and people. To summarize, in recent years, Michigan and other states have detected influenza among sick pigs at agricultural fairs. These offensive sometimes resulted in human illnesses associated with contact with sick pigs or their environments. We have learned some valuable lessons. One of the most valuable lessons from these events is the importance of good communication among all stakeholders. Some tips for fostering good communication include, knowing your local partners and their contact information. Pre-prepared pre-event with draft media, exhibitor and other stakeholder messages. Provide situational awareness to all response partners, whether it's ill animals or ill people. Each group has their own set of responsibilities in responding to an illness outbreak, whether it's containing the disease among animals while minimizing the risk to people or notifying people who are potentially exposed in initiating human health monitoring. In the event of an outbreak, all parties should work together on joint messages for relevant partners and the public. - Great. Thank you so much Dr. Signs. Now I wanna spend some time in providing some of the Michigan project outputs that have been developed over the previous few years related to this grant. And I do want to just extend a thank you's to many of the MSU Extension colleagues that we have worked with on this project and the development of these materials. So the first thing I wanna bring you to is really our MSUE 4-H animal health zoonotic disease prevention website. And this is where you're gonna find many of the resources that have been developed to provide education around this issue over the last few years. If you go to the website, and again, we will be posting the links to many of the sites and information that we'll be sharing in the chat. And we will also be sending out the slides at the end of this presentation, so that you have a chance to also access some of the material and resources that are gonna be presented today. This is really where you will find all of the different information, as well as all of the resources, activities that we have developed as a part of this project. Additional resources that we've developed is an animal science anywhere curricula. This resource is available for hands-on information and activities for kids and being able to be implemented by volunteers as well as family members, really around providing information and education around zoonotic disease prevention. You will see information such as mutation nation, bridging human and animal health, One Health, Health for One, Health for All, the Basics of Bio Security, Building and Biosecurity, Reducing the Risk. What is a Pathogen? Diseases that Animals and Humans Share. The Words You Need to Know, and the Vocabulary Activity Cards, as well as Understanding Disease Outbreaks. Again, additional information that you can use to be able to teach this education and a fun and interactive setting. The next piece is something that we have just developed within the past year. These are Game Night Kits, and these are kits that are associated with providing, again, fun experiences for youth in an interactive setting, and really thinking about how you can use some of those resources. You'll see the kids on the screen are actually playing a game called Germo, which allows you to be able to start to understand the terminology associated with many of the various diseases and information that's being shared. And again, a very fun and interactive way. This game is actually very similar to UNO, that's been developed. We also have resources that are available through virtual education. For instance, we have free Kahoot games. These Kahoot games are designed as instructional learning tools and really provides education with quiz questions throughout. So as an individual is going through these resources, and this one actually correlates with the Health for One, One Health for All, Animal Science Anywhere lesson. You can actually go through, complete the slides and information, learn information as you're going, and then complete the quizzes as far as learning the additional information that's being developed. So again, there's free Kahoot games that are available. We have instructional resources to walk you through how you can actually implement these games, either within a club setting or an individual setting. And as well as this could be something that could be used in the classroom as well. We've developed a series of social media graphics, really to highlight a variety of different tools and information, to be able to really carry out messages around zoonotic disease prevention and education. And these messages could be used at fairs, they could be used at public settings to be able to communicate the very basics of providing good tools and useful pieces, such as hand-washing and other useful practices, to be able to carry the message. All of these social media graphics had some focus groups with participants to be sure that we were meeting the appropriate age range, we were meeting the appropriate messaging and that the messages were really telling the story that we wanted them to tell. These are all targeted and they're very simple to understand, to be able to carry these very basic messages. Here are some additional messages that we have. For instance, things like do not eat or drink around animals, washing and disinfecting tools and equipment, everyday biosecurity is easy, thinking about watching for signs and symptoms of swine influenza, as well as separating animals that are shown from those that are not. And again, showing these in a fun, but also very informational and educational way Additional resources that will be coming soon are three 90 second videos that really talk about cleaning and disinfecting of transportation vehicles, identifying a sick animal and preparing for the show or exhibitions. And again, this is additional information that could be shared. This could be shared for a larger audience for a fair and exhibition preparation, but also thinking about how you can really provide informational messaging so that families and youth and young children really understand the basics of what they need to be thinking about and what are some of the basic practices that need to be considered when you're trying to reduce the spread of zoonotic diseases. These videos are coming soon. We are in the process of developing these videos and they will be done by the end of the year and available for use. So I'd like to turn it over to Dave Thompson. Who's going to share a little bit about best practices for fair and exhibit organizers. - Thank you, Erica. And hello everyone. I'm Dave Thompson with MSU Extension and my colleague Beth Ferry is also online, I think today from somewhere in the Thumb region where she's working with pork producers up there. We're gonna shift gears a bit now away from educational resources for youth and describe some resources available for organizers for fairs and other events where animals come in close contact. We and our partners have assembled a set of resources that we believe are best practices. And we'll highlight just a few of those key resources today, but we'll make sure that you're able to access the full set whenever you need them. Dr. Signs and Erica both emphasize the importance of communication to the process of making effective decisions around disease prevention and management. The first critical step of when a problem comes up is knowing who to communicate with. And this requires having a team already formed and ready to function. And the list shown here includes the recommended minimum configuration of an animal health team. And you can see we've included the fair manager, the fair board members, specie superintendent, attending fair veterinarian, MSU Extension staff person. And then a very importantly, the local health department staff. All of these resources are going to stress the importance of having an animal health game plan in place. These plans should be designed for reducing, responding and recovering from animal health issues that may arrive at fairs, may arise at fairs and exhibitions, should provide those in leadership roles with expectations, for animal check-in procedures, monitoring animal health during the event, and then biosecurity plans. And hopefully they will also provide a way to reduce your stress. It takes a lot of the guesswork, by having a plan takes a lot of the guesswork out of what to do, when to do it and who's responsible. And that should go a long way to reduce your stress. The animal health game plan should account for four phases that might occur if a health event takes place. And they're shown here in these little boxes, the first and really first key step is to develop a plan. This includes such things as creating procedures to avoid or limit an animal health event. It should include such things as educating exhibitors before the fair exhibition. Creating a check-in procedure to ensure that all animals that enter the barn are healthy, we don't want sick animals coming to the fair. It should also include establishing procedures to increase public awareness about zoonotic disease, and then preparation then builds off the plane. It sets up guidelines or policies that will help staff members respond to an animal health situation efficiently and positively. Planning and preparation are steps that take place before the event. Responding is how you implement a plan, the plan, once the potential animal health event occurs. And one objective is to respond to an animal health event quickly and proactively with as little disruption to your event as possible. Of course, the ultimate objective is to minimize risk of disease spreading to other animals or people. It's also a very good idea during the recovery phase, after the exhibition has ended to conduct a thorough debrief to assess lessons learned during the event and whether an animal health issue actually occurred. Next slide, Erica. So the rationale underlying the team and individual responsibilities are somewhere eyes nicely, I think in this document called The Fair and Exhibition Animal Health Planning Guide. Key aspects of the recommended planning process are described in detail in this document, it's organized in a linear, step-by-step fashion and includes everything from setting up your team to legal responsibilities of animal owners. It's a really thorough, nice compilation. Next slide, Erica. If you're interested in drilling down even further, another resource we recommend highly is the National State Public Health Veterinarian's website. It's really thorough, really well-designed and contains a ton of up-to-date information on how to prevent zoonotic diseases affairs. I think the site really makes it easy to hone in on steps to prevent influenza. And that's a very important one that you'd wanna prevent. Some additional great resources are listed here to assist the development of your full game plan. These include two sites that are continually updated by CDC, and one that is maintained by the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists. It includes resources developed by people like all of us, but generated in other states. And I think it's a really nifty site, really easy to use. By having a team and a well-defined plan in place well before the fair, you can greatly improve the odds that the process you implement in the event of a suspected animal health related illness will be effective. You can envision there then the process like that shown in Fair A, on the left here, where they have a plan, they have a fair veterinarian who immediately evaluates an animal and they quickly isolate, in this case, the pigs, could be other animals, holds an exhibitor meeting, has readily available communications and has answers to questions such as who covers costs and many other things. And then compare that to what happens in fair B, where they have no plan in place where you wind up muddling through a potential crisis, trying to make decisions on the fly and probably under a ton of stress, which is not good for anyone. Now there's one more website that we wanna make you aware of. And that's the MSU Extension animal or Fair Animal Health site. We mentioned this because it includes some condensed versions of a lot of practical advice and the planning resources we've already described. It also contains links to a lot of easy to understand fact sheets, signs, posters, and videos that might be helpful. So it's definitely a site worth looking at. A lot of great signs and posters included in this site. These signs and posters include simple graphics and short punchy texts that people can read and understand very quickly. Next slide, Erica. We like a couple of these slides, in particular, I do anyway because their messages are clear and other people who work in a lot of fairs tell us, they think they're really effective, but there's a whole host of really good slides on that site. And as most of you know, the past few years, the fairs have really stepped up with more use of effective signage. And fairs I've visited have done a great job positioning, hand-washing or disinfection stations at fire and entries and exits. We certainly recommend that everyone keep those practices up. These steps that are easy, inexpensive, and effective. And we wanna bring your attention to a couple more, couple new resources. I think Erica mentioned, we've had a lot of pop-up, one day or jackpot shows the past two years, I don't know if COVID had anything to do with it or what, but we've certainly had a lot of them here in Michigan. So we put together a biosecurity fact sheet for those shows. And they're in the process of completing some videos that Erica mentioned, that we think will be helpful. This material will be available at the MSU website. And I think it's actually comes online today here, but someone can correct me if that's incorrect. We wanted to create some resources around a zoonotic disease prevention for the agri-tourism businesses, many of which bring animals and people in close contact. We think this is a growing area in Michigan, as it is than other parts of the US, we also think it's been underserved in terms of supporting resources. Will Cronin at MSU Extension is about three months in now, I think to the process of conducting a needs survey for these businesses. But we have some preliminary findings already that we wanted to share with you today, just because they're very interesting and relevant, I think. So the preliminary findings include that we sent it out to 250 Michigan businesses. We've had 26 respond so far. We're still early in the data collection process. We certainly hope we achieve a greater than a 10% response rate. 16 businesses reported animals interacting with people, and animals varied. There were some with dogs and cats, some with horses, goats, pigs, and chickens, 12 businesses reported participants consume food while interacting with the animals, which is not unusual I know. The other preliminary findings, 11 of 16 businesses with animal contact were aware of zoonotic disease. Only four reported knowing that facilities allow human animal interaction could spread disease, which was somewhat surprising. Non-reported any mitigation strategies that were being used. So I think the implications we draw from these results so far is the ag tourism is an overlooked avenue for disease transmission education. And it's certainly is providing an opportunity for outreach and education and one we'll be building from over the next year, hopefully. So thank you everyone. - Thank you so much. And I just wanna add, 'cause this is a little bit of a different twist with this project, really reaching out to the Ag tourism industry, but we realized with a lot of these shows and a lot of these businesses, that it's parents, it's children, they are really interacting and attending as a part of this. And so wanting to make sure that we get information and education about reducing the spread of zoonotic disease at some of these additional meeting, more non-traditional outlets that we typically often haven't provided a lot of information in the past. So this has been an exciting, but also with these findings, realizing that there's a lot of opportunity in the education and that people also are very interested in education as well. One thing I do wanna mention with this survey was that this survey went out to 250 businesses, but I will say that not all of those businesses may have had animals at their sites. They also may not have food. So it really, truly, this was a larger sample that we're really drilling down for this particular population. So where can we access these resources? So we provided a lot of information for you all today and really giving you some opportunities to do education with youth. Hands-on experiential thinking about the 4-H learn by doing model and really thinking about how you can provide education in getting in the hands in a fun and interactive way, either with some of the game kits or some of the graphics and resources that we're trying to provide that information. We also provide a variety of different information as far as working with fairs and how to communicate a plan. And so really thinking about how we provide this education, it needs to come at a lot of different levels. So one of the things that we wanted to do is just really share again some of the resources and where you can actually access some of this information. So again, this MSU extension 4-H animal health zoonotic disease prevention, this is where you're gonna find all of your resources for the hands-on experiential learning. We have videos that you can use. And many of the videos that were in production right now will end up on this website as well. This is where you're gonna find our social media graphics and information, as well as all of the different educational activities, the animal science everywhere, the Kahoot virtual education activities, and how you could use that as well as the instructional guide to be able to complete this. So this is your one-stop shop for all of the educational activities that you can use with youth, either through a club setting, working with groups, working in the schools, or also working as a family as well, to be able to communicate this information. The MSU Extension Fair Animal Health Website, this is your resource for putting a plan together. And again, it will have a link to the youth educational activities, but you can also see things like the fair and exhibition animal health planning guide, general signage, as well as bio-security and tips and sheets to be able to help think about how to get this education out. We will continue to populate this website, including things like that one day show guidelines for shows is on here as well. And again, we're actively putting resources together to be able to provide all the different pieces of information, to be able to prevent the spread of zoonotic disease. And then finally, you're also going to see the CST Youth in Agricultural Dedicated website. And this website not only includes resources for Michigan, as well as resources from all the other states that are participating in this grant. And again, this grant is part of CDC funding from the centers for... Oh I'm sorry. Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists. And there's a variety of states that have been funded on this project for the past few years that has resources and information and education to be able to communicate this information. So this is another great resource and great resource for you to be able to use, to get the best practices for youth education around this area. In addition, want to just bring your attention to the CDC, Stay Healthy at Animal Exhibits. Again, additional information here to be able to communicate and provide information and some of the best practice recommendations. Again, we are trying to make sure that we are preventing the spread of disease. And so we wanna make sure to get that information and education out. There are recommendations that have been provided. And again, I believe we shared this earlier, but I just wanna share this again. We're talking about shortening the time swine around the fairgrounds of less than 72 hours. Establishing a protocol to immediately isolate all swine. Maintaining a veterinarian on call for the duration of the swine exhibit. Very, very important. Providing hand washing stations. And again, one of the things that was really interesting with that Ag tourism survey thus far is that there wasn't a lot of mitigation practices in place. And so making sure that you're providing best practices for hand-washing, making sure that we're having opportunities for people to be able to reduce and mitigate that risk, really, really important. Discouraging or prohibiting food or beverages in animal barns. Discouraging people at high risk for influenza associated complications from entering the barns. And then additional information. And again, I direct your attention to that compendium of measures to minimize influenza transmission at swine exhibitions. An excellent resource to really guide your decision-making and providing information and tools for you to be able to use. Again, all of this is really thinking about One Health, it's that coordinated, communicated, and collaborative plan. And the fact that we are trying to achieve optimal health outcomes by recognizing that interconnection. And again, that interconnection between people, animals, plants, and their shared environments. We are part of all of this One Health effort. And again, when we protect one, we protect all. And so making sure that we're providing education, resources, information, a variety of different ways to be able to really mitigate the risks that go along with zoonotic disease. So we do have some call to action that we wanted to share. And again, thinking about who you can work with in your local community is really, really important. And so some of the people that you need to be thinking about is who are your local public health departments, who is at the statewide level to really help you think about how you can work around this issue and area so that you can be as coordinated as you possibly can. And again, assembling that team of people that you can work with is really important. So identifying that local public health contact so that if there is an outbreak, or if there is a concern, you are ready and you have a plan in place to be able to figure that out. Who is your local Extension program, especially 4-H and other partners that that Extension may work with at the local level? Again, key contexts. In Michigan we have a great opportunity in working across our institutes between our Ag and Agribusiness Institute, as well as our Children and Youth and our Community Food and Environment Institute, and thinking about how a coordinated approach can really occur so that you're getting all the best minds at the table to be able to address these issues. And then the CSTE and CDC through the work that's been done all across the country as a part of this grant program has collected a variety of resources that are great tools to be able to use, to be able to spread the message and information. Now, we provided a lot of information today, but we wanted to make sure that who you could contact in the local community as well as who you could contact as part of our messaging is really important. So I'm seeing some questions coming in on the chat. And before we kind of do our final thoughts and get a final thoughts from each of our guest panelists, I wanna be able to direct to some of the questions that are coming in. So the first question is from Carrie asking, Ag tourism are required to license with APHIS and yet many do not. How do we educate people to get more information on this piece? Is there anybody that would be interested in speaking on this question from our panel? Will, do you wanna take this question, or Dave? - Well, if Will's able to take it, he would probably give a lot better answer than I would, Erica. So Will, are you on, can you speak? - Yeah, I'm here. Yeah. In terms of tourism education, I think it's so important to work through our umbrella organizations in our communities. So our convention and visitors bureaus, or chambers of commerce, organizations like that. So the more that... Because those are the organizations that will have the most day-to-day touch and that sort of baseline level of trust with our Ag tourism businesses. So I think education, as we go forward needs to go out through those chambers, through the CPBs, through our local government, could be our local Extension folks. To get that information in front of the eyes, who need to see it in a way that is not, in a way that's respectful and doesn't alarm anybody, because of course, the idea of transmitting disease at your business, that's the concern about that, is stressful. So we wanna make sure that that information gets out in a way that folks can get it, like they need it. And I think you do that by partnering with those organizations already in the community. - This is Kim. I'll just jump in on this, on APHIS's role in Ag tourism, potential role. And so the USDA Animal Care is responsible for licensing businesses that have animals, that keep certain species of animals. And so for example, people who might have a farm or a petting zoo or something like that, they do tend to be licensed by USDA Animal Care. Their involvement with these, the reason they licensed these is to make sure that the animals are properly cared for, that they're providing adequate food and shelter and care for the animals. We sometimes do work with our animal care partners when we have a situation of an outbreak involving a licensed facility, but it is possible that we may learn that there are some facilities that maybe should be licensed and aren't, so, maybe that's something, an education piece we can certainly include when we're communicating back with some of these people who are responding to our survey. - Dave. - I have a question for Will and Kim, regarding this matter. We have this list now of 250 of these businesses, the petting pens and things like that. And hopefully more of them will respond to the survey, but regardless we have this list, would it be useful to reach out to them directly with some sort of mailing and let them know that these are some of the guidelines that, just as a reminder, that they need to follow, would this be an opportunity in a form of follow-up from the survey, but include the people that respond to the survey and those who didn't? - [Will] Yeah, I think that would absolutely be appropriate. - Yeah. I agree. - We have another question that's come forward. So the question is from Amy saying, we have a small farm staying with horses, goats, emus, chickens, but I have never heard of being licensed. I'm involved in many of the Ag tourism organizations, this is the first I've heard about it. Forgive my ignorance, but what is APHIS? Thank you, Amy, for asking the question. - Yeah. So this is a... I mean, you can certainly educate yourself if you do have animals on exhibit. The USDA, US Department of Agriculture's website, its Animal, Plant Health Inspection Service, is what APHIS stands for. And their Animal Care Unit is the one that's responsible for making sure that the Animal Welfare Act is followed by businesses that have animals. So I would direct you to that website, to the USDA website for more information about that. - Great. And thank you to Will for putting in that link as well. Additional question here we have, where will you publish and share the needs assessment findings once complete and are other states or institutions implementing the same survey simultaneously? That is a great question. I'm not sure. We are very preliminary in our data collection at this point. So I think we will be thinking about what that looks like, but we will definitely share the results. At this time we are the only state that is doing this particular survey. And again, it really came about of the fact that we started to kind of see these various Ag tourism businesses, happening really during the pandemic. A lot of times where our families were accessing these various businesses and starting to see that this could be in another population that we really wanted to provide education and information and outreach for. So we're very preliminarily kind of beginning in this work, but see this as a great opportunity to provide education in this area. So I don't know, Will, and Dave and Dr. Signs, I don't know if there's particular outlets you were thinking about. I think one of the big outlets we're thinking is Extension providing. Again, we see this as a great education outreach opportunity, but I just kind of throw that question out to others as well, to see if anybody else has other ideas and thoughts. 'Cause again, this is a different, this is a new audience for us and thinking about and partnership, even within our own Extension organization. - Yeah, I agree with that through Extension, of course, and I imagine there's a strong channel there for us to share this information with other states through our Extension colleagues as well. But in terms of, Ag tourism, like I said earlier, our local partner organizations, things like that. - Other questions from anybody in the audience that we would be happy to answer? We are kind of reaching, nearing the end of our presentation point. I do wanna allow each of the presenters just to have a chance to just kind of share any final thoughts that they have. So Dr. Signs, would you like to start? - Sure. I'd just like to say that we've really appreciated this collaboration that we've been able to build with MSU Extension. In our state in Michigan, Extension is a very important source of education information for people involved in agriculture and being able to reach youth early so that sort of, they develop the practices right out of the gate, around biosecurity and animal health, I think is very important, as they grow into adults and continue to work in agriculture. So this is what we're really trying to do with this project. And we're pretty proud of the things that we've done. There's a lot of great things that other states have done as well. And so I really encourage people to look at some of the other products that have come from other states in this project and use them. Use what we've developed for your own state programs. And thanks to everyone today, I think, a real session today. - Thank you so much. Dave, is there anything final that you would like to say? - Yes, I would agree with each point that Dr. Signs made. and I would also say we emphasized swine influenza and influenza today for good reason. It's the most important of the diseases that happen at fairs. There are other zoonotic diseases that are transmitted at fairs, and we don't have time today to go into those, but there are many. But generally much less important in terms of their impact, their incidents and impact on people who attend the fairs, but encourage everyone to look into those other diseases as well. And some of them are highlighted in our website, but it's a fascinating area in science. It's one that's intrigue me for most of my life, which is pretty long. Thank you. Thank you, Erica. - Well, and I just wanna say from the youth standpoint, I just really encourage everybody. Youth really had the opportunity. We have the opportunity to provide education and information, and sometimes what gets in the hands of our kids, that information gets spread fairly easily by word of mouth and bringing that back to the families and communities that they work in. And being able to do that in a fun way, that allows kids to kind of delve into these resources and information in a way that's experiential hands-on, really that 4-H model, and being able to talk about some pretty difficult, heavy topics as well. It really encourage everybody to check out the resources, the plethora of resources that are available. Youth can be a part of the decision-making, they can be a part of the communication, and they can be a part of the opportunity to really reduce the risk of zoonotic disease prevention. So really thinking about how we can get our youth on board is really important. And hopefully you heard some resources that you can use to do that. You will see in the chat, there is an evaluation survey that we've posted. We are asking all participants to please provide that. While we've been involved in this project, there's always opportunities for us to improve as well as provide additional opportunities and areas for education and outreach in this area. So really looking forward to your thoughts, ideas, and how we can continue to raise awareness around this very important topic. I also wanna just take a second and again, thank the CDC and the CSTE for the generous funding that we've been able to use to provide a lot of the resources in the collaboration opportunities. We would not be as far along in this project without the very generous support. And so really I would like to thank them as well for that. So thank you so much for everybody's participation today. We hope that you learned resources and information and tools. We will be sending out the PowerPoint, so you will have access to this information. And again, please complete the evaluation so that we can get your wonderful feedback. Thank you very much for participating today and hope everybody has a great rest of your day.

You Might Also Be Interested In