Zoonotic and environmentally-transmitted diseases present potential public health, resource, and economic risks. Managing the risks to resources, employees, visitors, and the environment from disease agents and reservoirs and developing control strategies is a shared responsibility of the natural resource, risk management and public health programs. On January 7 and 8, 2003, the Biological Resource Management Division (BRMD), Public Health Division (PHD) and the Risk Management Division (RMD) held a workshop to address this issue. (A list of meeting participants and the meeting agenda is at the end of this document.) The goal of the workshop was to develop a system of standard operating procedures for determining lead responsibilities and responses to categories of zoonotic and environmentally-transmitted diseases. The workshop participants determined that the combined use of an on-going steering committee and appointed work groups would be the best protocol for an organized response to the above issue. The workshop participants further developed this model by identifying a mission, objective, membership criteria and operational responsibilities for both the steering committee and for the appointed work groups. They are as follows:
Utilize a National Park Service (NPS) interdisciplinary coordinated approach to detect and manage the risk of zoonotic, vector-borne and environmentally-transmitted diseases (ZED’s) and their associated management actions on NPS visitors, employees, and resources, as well as the environment.
• Accurately determine and prioritize ZED’s that require interdisciplinary direction for prevention, management and tracking.
• Utilize a work group approach to effectively address ZED’s in need of management protocols, interdisciplinary coordination, long-term monitoring, emergency response, and/or emergency protocols.
• Utilize a task force and/or Incident Management Team to effectively address ZED’s determined to be urgent in nature. (Example: Response to FMD, etc.)
• Initiate and maintain clear and consistent communication between groups affected by a particular ZED.
• Ensure NPS consistency and coordination in the area of ZED’s by coming to consensus on the appropriate leader on interdisciplinary issues (IPM, Wildlife, Public Health, and Risk Management).
• Provide national guidance that will result in interdisciplinary consistency when addressing ZED’s.
The steering committee will include one member from each of the following NPS program areas. The member must be at the management level or will be delegated authority by management level
• Ranger Activities Division.
• Biological Resource Management (Wildlife and IPM) Division.
• Public Health Program.
• Risk Management Division.
• Other Potential Members.
Should it be deemed necessary, a steering committee member may be appointed to represent one or all of the following program areas.
• Air and Water Divisions.
• Concessions Division.
• Maintenance Division.
• Assists in recommending actions to be taken in the event of an emerging issue or contingency.
• Create a system for gathering and reviewing ZED surveillance data and identifying ZED management action and priority.
• Establish ZED workgroups by determining appropriate work group leaders, participants, objectives, need for outside expertise, and time lines.
• Review ZED work group recommendations.
• Effectively communicate current ZED’s to regions, parks, etc.
• Determine whether the assistance of an Incident Management Team should be requested in response to a ZED issue.
• Address operational and emergency funding needs related to ZED’s. (Potentially create a mechanism for emergency funds.)
• Determine the logistic mechanism, communication structure, and time frame for steering committee meetings. (It is anticipated that the meetings will be held two times per year.)
• Recommend steering committee or task force training needs. (Insure rapid response training when appropriate.)
• Continually evaluate the effectiveness of this ZED program.
• Determine long-term objectives and goals for the ZED program after one year of initiation.
• Maintain a knowledge base on bioterrorism as it relates to ZED’s and NPS response.
• Report annually to the director on relevant ZED issues, task force activities, and steering committee effectiveness.
Design and recommend policy and operational guidance for steering committee assigned interdisciplinary issues in order to manage the risk of ZED’s and their associated management actions on National Park Service visitors, employees, and resources, as well as the environment.
• Achieve steering committee appointed objectives and time lines.
• Develop SOP’s and policy guidance for managing ZED’s that take an interdisciplinary approach and are technically sound.
The steering committee appoints work group members or the appointed work group leader and will include individuals from program areas such as:
• Public Affairs Ranger Activities Wildlife
• IPM Public Health Risk Management
• Facilities Management Air Water
• Geology NRID Resource Management
• Concessions EQD
• Utilize technical expertise to develop SOP’s and policy guidance for ZED management actions.
• Communicate recommendations to the steering committee.
• Identify and forward any perceived sensitive issues to public affairs.
• Communicate standard guidance on ZED to internal and external audiences.
• Recommend the best method(s) for ongoing system support for the field.
• Act as a resource and assist parks in educational efforts necessary for implementing task force recommendations.
• Solicit review for environmental compliance from Environmental Quality Division (EQD) on respective ZED response SOP’s or guidelines.
• Prepare an annual brief on specific ZED Task Force activities.