The AgConnect® HealthNet system developed by the Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases (IIAD) is designed to provide early detection of potential disease outbreaks or changes in animal health status. The expansion of the AgConnect® HealthNet system builds on the success of the two smaller pilot projects: a proof-of-concept pilot funded through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate that focused on cattle and small ruminants (sheep and goats); and an expansion of this pilot, funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), that focused on the equine and poultry industries.
Phase II of the project will include all major animal industries and at least 15 states over the next three years. Whereas the proof-of-concept pilot included data from veterinarians, livestock markets and diagnostic laboratories, Phase II, the expanded pilot, of AgConnect® HealthNet includes increasing the user base by adding: producers, agriculture company veterinarians and production managers and wildlife sources, such as wildlife biologists and organizations. The main focus of the Phase II expanded pilot effort is to continue to enhance the system and develop a sustainable system that is nationally accepted and supports the agriculture industry. With the funding provided by the DHS and USDA, the AgConnect® HealthNet system allows producers and veterinarians access to real-time data for evaluation of animal health status, changes in this status and tools to manage overall herd health.
Outcomes and Impacts
The AgConnect® HealthNet system currently captures animal health information on both healthy and sick animals from mixed-animal, poultry and equine veterinarians in real-time through the use of mobile technologies. The information is then organized into an easy-to-use computer display for monitoring and analysis, where it is integrated with data from veterinary diagnostic laboratories, wildlife biologists and livestock markets. During a disease outbreak, the system could provide timely surveillance information to emergency managers, state animal health officials and veterinarians, allowing them to respond to situations as they develop. In addition, documenting the number of animals observed or examined by veterinarians for clinical signs compatible with certain endemic and high consequence animal diseases, and documenting healthy animals, will assist the USDA in identifying geographic areas that are absent of a disease event during an outbreak to assist in demonstrating disease freedom to U.S. trading partners.