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P.a. Animal Health Database System Offered Nationally

USAHERDS launched through multi-state partnership

Pennsylvania's award-winning animal health database system has become a national model for use by other states, the Department of Agriculture said.

Launched at the U.S. Animal Health Association annual meeting in Minneapolis, the U.S. Animal Health Emergency Response and Diagnostic System (USAHERDS) is the national version of PAHERDS, Pennsylvania's innovative program to protect millions of livestock and poultry flocks from the outbreak of disease.

Indiana and Kentucky were the first to adopt the technology and entered into a new partnership with Pennsylvania to work together to better protect the health of animals and consumers.

"Once again, Pennsylvania's cutting-edge technology is helping the nation," Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff said. "Through USAHERDS, other states can monitor and contain animal diseases quickly and effectively, protecting our food supply and local economies across the nation."

Pennsylvania, Indiana and Kentucky formed a multi-state partnership called the Animal Health Information Management Consortium (AHIMC) to set a new standard for monitoring animal health incidents, investigations, licenses and regulatory events in the U.S. Participants include the Pennsylvania Bureau of Animal Health and Diagnostic Services, the Indiana State Board of Animal Health, the Kentucky Division of Animal Health, and the University of Kentucky Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center. Dr. Paul Knepley, Pennsylvania's state veterinarian, will chair the AHIMC committee.

USAHERDS is a computerized data program available to state departments of agriculture, which helps to prevent, detect, contain and eradicate outbreaks of dangerous diseases among animals. Key features of the system includes premises identification, animal testing and inventory, program disease management, import and export management, licensing, and emergency response management. Consortium members are using the systems for emergency planning, daily operations and mapping.

USAHERDS will also generate cost-savings for participating states by streamlining business processes. Pennsylvania's system reduced annual costs to taxpayers by more than $75,000.

Earlier this year, PAHERDS received the American Council for Technology's 2006 Intergovernmental Solutions Award.