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AAZV Infectious Disease: Disaster Preparedness

In early September 2014, Infectious Disease Committee and Disaster Preparedness Committees were advised that EC desired merging of Disaster Preparedness into Infectious Disease.  This change was recommended by EC due to a not infrequent cause for disaster preparation being an infectious disease.

Infectious Disease Committee
Co-Chair, Disaster Preparedness: Yvonne Nadler (2014-2015)

Co-Chair, Disaster Preparedness: J Jill Heatley (2015-2016)

Purpose of the sub-committee of the AAZV Infectious Disease Committee is to support members in disaster preparedness efforts through continuing education opportunities, development of templates for planning/response, web resources, etc. The purpose of the committee does NOT include rostering veterinarians for deployment or technical disaster response.

Committee Members: We currently have 37 members signed up on the AAZV Website Group for Disaster Preparedness Committee. Committee communication is driven through this website feature. To join the group, submit a request to join on the group page.

Members in Action

  • The emergence of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in the Pacific Northwest in December 2014 has been ‘top of mind’ for US based zoological veterinarians all year. Many AAZV member veterinarians have been preparing their facilities, educating their staff, and working with State animal health officials and USDA to prevent the emergence in their collections.

  • The Conference Committee has selected a main topic of HPAI for the Disaster Preparedness Session this September in Portland. With Dr. Susie Bartlett’s assistance, a round-table discussion about HPAI will be held on September 30, 2015. AAZV members who will be facilitating and participating in the discussion include: Drs. Mads Frost Bertelsen, Kurt Sladky, Gretchen Cole, Mike Murray, Yvonne Nadler, June Olds and Mickey Trent. These individuals were chosen based upon their work with HPAI issues, or can provide information about response strategies their respective institutions took in HPAI affected states.

An Opportunity to Engage:

Eight members of the Disaster Preparedness Sub-Committee volunteered at the 2014 AAZV conference to become part of a program known as “Secure Zoo”. Secure Zoo is a USDA funded project, based upon successful Secure Milk, Secure Egg and Secure Pork programs, which focus on biosecurity and other preventive measures, to reach the ultimate goal of business viability when impacted by Foreign Animal Disease. Secure Zoo is being developed by the ZAHP Fusion Center and includes Association of Zoos and Aquariums, American Association of Zoo Veterinarians, Zoological Association of America, Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries and other stakeholder groups. This three to four year project just wrapped its first year. The following AAZV Disaster Preparedness Sub-Committee members are assisting in the development of Secure Zoo include Drs. Jennifer Boonstra, Gretchen Cole, Pam Dennis, Patty Klein, Mark Lloyd, Scott Willens, Michelle Willette and Yvonne Nadler. Other AAZV member veterinarians on various Secure Zoo working groups include Drs. Don Janssen, Bruce Rideout, Geoff Pye, Kim Cook, Heidi Haefele, Doug Armstrong and Julie Napier.  

“ZAHP” loosely stands for Zoo and Aquarium All Hazards Preparedness Response and Recovery

Further Interest:

Objectives for the next year will be determined at the next annual Committee meeting in Atlanta, July 2016.  

The Secure Zoo website is at

Contemporary information about HPAI for the zoological practitioner can be found on the ZAHP Fusion Center website at

Member Information on Disaster Preparedness

Click here for committee reports and other AAZV member specific resources.


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