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Hurricane Resource Management and Cost Tracking

In the ongoing response to Hurricane Harvey the exotic animal community has gone above and beyond to assist facilities in need, proving once again that helping one another is in our DNA. As the long road to recovery from Harvey begins, Hurricane Irma is now potentially threatening the United States. Whether your facility is directly impacted or you are responding to another in need, documentation of assistance is very important.  The following information is very important for responders to Hurricane Harvey, and may be even more important if Irma impacts the US.  Included below are some basics on resource management and cost tracking, provided by Dr. Kevin Dennison of USDA Animal Care. Please note that any specific questions about FEMA should be directed to your local Emergency Management agency.   Also included below are links to downloadable to-do lists and tracking documents for anyone that may not have a template readily available, and information on American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMF)’s Disaster Reimbursement Grants.     Basics on Resource Management and Cost Tracking  Provided by Dr. Kevin Dennison,  National Emergency Management Staff Veterinarian, USDA-APHIS Animal Care   Major disasters are complex challenges for local, state, federal and non-governmental response partners.  In major disasters, FEMA may provide direct response support and reimbursement grants (Public Assistance Grants) to eligible applicants for eligible expenses.  Typical cost shares are 75% Federal and 25% State/Local but currently the FEMA is picking up 100% of eligible assistance costs for 30 days, then 90%.  Documentation of all expenses, work and authorization for that work is critical.  This includes documentation that work was part of the official response (such as orders or email communications) and detailed documentation of what work was done, personnel, their positions (veterinarians vs volunteers for example) and any equipment (including vehicles) and supplies used.  You cannot track too much detail on costs! Donations and voluntary efforts, if documented, may sometimes be used towards the State or local cost share. Some non-governmental organizations may be eligible sub-applicants for FEMA.  Local or State emergency management personnel can provide specific insight to eligibility of a non-governmental entity.  As an example, however, a nonprofit organization that operates a zoo on city lands might be considered an eligible sub-applicant.  A nonprofit organization providing emergency sheltering for the county might also be eligible, depending on contracts, agreements and tasking orders. The following recommendations should be considered when requesting resources or responding to incident needs: It is important for locally responding agencies and organizations to request resources through their established jurisdictional Incident Command or through the local Emergency Operations Center.  Any agency or organization sending resources should consider whether they have an official request and if they are working in coordination with their own local emergency management agency. All personnel should check into the incident.  If not checked into the incident with the appropriate local authorities, there could be safety and accountability concerns and the work might not be eligible to be considered in future cost sharing grant applications.  Questions on resource […]


Hurricane Updates

Irma Update: 9/7/17 As Hurricane Irma continues its path towards Florida, we wanted to take this opportunity to share the below contact information and resources.  The latest information on Irma’s path is available on the National Hurricane Center’s site here:   http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/.   Please remember that disasters begin and end locally! If you have an animal welfare need in the wake of Irma you will need to request assistance through your county emergency manager. A list of emergency managers by county, with county websites and phone numbers, is available here: http://www.floridadisaster.org/County_EM/ASP/county.asp; this information is also available in map form.   The state of Florida has already activated the  group responsible for assisting with animal welfare needs throughout disasters in the statewide Emergency Operations Center (SEOC), and requests for assistance made to county EOCs will be elevated to the state level as needed.     Anyone needing assistance with a captive wildlife issue can also reach out to their Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) captive wildlife investigator. Investigators have already been reaching out to coastal areas on the eastern side of the state and offering  assistance to facilities who need it.  If you do not have direct contact information available  you can call the main FWC Captive Wildlife Office at 850-488-6523.  Animal Welfare Act (AWA) regulated facilities in south Florida have already been contacted by their inspector to assess status ahead of impact; these facilities have been instructed to communicate needs and report on the status and safety of staff and animals by calling or texting  the designated 24/7 telephone number:  919.923.0573.   We are closely monitoring this event, and welcome you to contact us if you have any questions or feel we may otherwise be of assistance to you at this time.  If you are planning to assist an impacted facility or would like to offer assistance, that information can be sent to ZAHP Fusion Center staff :  Ashley Zielinski, Yvonne Nadler, and Steve Olson. This information will be recorded to minimize duplication of efforts should an animal welfare need arise.  Additional Resources: The FEMA mobile app provides resources, weather alerts, important maps and safety tips The public can report or look for a missing person or animal here: https://pl.nlm.nih.gov/en Google Crisis Maps show public alerts, evacuation resources, and shelters.  This FEMA press release includes additional tips and information in preparation for Hurricane Irma Stay safe everyone! Harvey Update 8/28/17  I’m sure you recognize that the flooding in Texas is unprecedented; an 800-year flood.  First responders are focusing on human needs, and while many of you in the path have prepared and have so far weathered this storm, unmet needs are just now being recognized for animals in disasters.  A huge shout out to those who have already stepped up to assist facilities in need.  Locals helping locals, that is the quickest way to get things done. The ZAHP Fusion Center has been asked by the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC )to assist on a task force to assist with all […]


Hurricane Season, Carfentanil, Zoo Ready, and National Preparedness Month

Included below is an update on the current Atlantic hurricane season,  a debrief from the recent Zoo Ready meeting for Veterinary Services district 4, information regarding the role of carfentanil in the US opioid crisis, and an announcement regarding National Preparedness Month. If you have any questions about the material provided or suggestions for future content please contact us.    Updated: Hurricane Season Outlook As we enter the peak months (August – October) of the Atlantic’s hurricane season, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has updated their outlook (http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/outlooks/hurricane.shtml ) to predict a 60% chance of an above normal hurricane season, up from the 45% chance predicted in May.  This updated outlook predicts a 70% chance of each of the following:   14 – 19 named storms ( including 6 named storms so far this season),  5 – 9 hurricanes, 2- 5 major hurricanes,  Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) of 100%-170% of the median (including the ACE of the 6 named storms so far this season).  With this update there is a 30% chance that the Atlantic will have a normal hurricane season, and only a 10% chance of a below normal season.  There is no official outlook on landfalls of these storms as that will be dependent on daily weather patterns. Up to date news, predictions and advisories regarding tropical storms can be seen on the National Hurricane Center site, http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/.  Safety tips and resources to assist you in preparing for a hurricane can be found here: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/hurricane/index.shtml .   Zoo Ready: District 4 Meeting Debrief In June the ZAHP Fusion Center traveled to Austin, TX to conduct the  Zoo Ready meeting for Veterinary Services District 4, focusing on enhancing foreign animal disease response communication channels,  with an additional one-day workshop on Contingency Planning for the Exotic Animal Industry.  Beyond being a learning experience,  these well attended meetings  gave participants from over 30 exotic wildlife facilities the valuable opportunity to connect with their state regulatory officials, federal agency and program representatives, and leadership from various wildlife associations.  This 3-day meeting was highly successful, with a more diverse audience of exhibitors than ever before and participant feedback consistently citing the value of having regulatory and industry partners in the same room to discuss the potential impacts of disease and disaster.  Thank you to the Texas Disposal System’s Exotic Wildlife Ranch for  generously hosting this meeting!   Carfentanil Information The United States opioid crisis continues, with 6 states and 4 tribal nations declaring public health emergencies to date.  The usage of fentanyl has been covered frequently in the news because coming into contact with even trace amounts can cause a potentially fatal overdose. This issue caused the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to issue a warning to first responders on the dangers of fentanyl exposure.  Those of you in the exotic animal industry are likely familiar with carfentanil, a 100 times more powerful analog of fentanyl used by veterinarians to anesthetize large mammals such as elephants and rhinos.  Carfentanil has been discovered in […]


HAZMAT: Could it Happen to You?

This update includes a debrief on a hazardous materials tabletop that recently took place at a zoo including links to resources and materials that can assist other facilities concerned about that threat.   Information for free virtual trainings from the office of bombing protection, links to archival copies of NOAA’s 2017 Hurricane Awareness webinar series, and information on how to participate in a survey of preparedness in our industry currently being conducted by graduate students at the University of Chicago’s Threat and Response Management Program is also included.    HAZMAT:  Could it Happen to You? Rail lines, natural gas, and oil pipelines zigzag across this country.  Semi tankers carry millions of gallons of hazardous materials on our roadways daily.  If there should be a spill at a nearby rail yard, or a ruptured pipeline adjacent to your facility, are you prepared?  To evaluate their preparedness plans for just such an emergency, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium (OHDZA) teamed up with the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to develop and host “HAZMAT at the Zoo”.  Spearheaded by the Zoo’s security team and veterinary departments, experienced exercise developers with NEMA drafted a realistic mass casualty/mass fatality based scenario for the facility.   The tabletop exercise simulated a toxic chemical leak at a rail yard adjacent to the Zoo on a crowded Saturday, with a resulting chemical cloud covering portions of the zoo and impacting staff, volunteers, visitors, and collections.  Exercise objectives tested Operational Communications, Coordination, Public Information and Warning, and more using the Incident Command System (ICS). The exercise was highly successful, and the zoo and responders both came away with ideas to improve their plans for HAZMAT events at the zoo.   The scenario included a wide range of representation from emergency response agencies and the zoological community, with final numbers exceeding 90 people!  The guest list included zoo staff, city and county first responders, state and federal agencies, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad, and 3 other zoological facilities in the area.  While those facilities were not affected by the ‘virtual spill’, this represented a great opportunity to collaborate and share information across the industry, giving participants the ability to return to their own institution and develop or improve their own plan. Despite the robust attendance list, participants were still able to identify additional agencies they may need to connect with in this type of incident, such as local hospitals and the county coroner. Another area of improvement identified, was to provide examples of similar incidents and their response for future exercises.   Please see below for resources that may help you assess HAZMAT risks at your facility and prepare for a potential incident.  If you are thinking of developing your own tabletop exercise and would like more information, please email Ashley at the ZAHP Fusion Center who can provide you with additional resources as well as contact information for the OHDZA.   Resources: Maps North American HAZMAT Situations and Deployments: http://hazmat.globalincidentmap.com/home.php Energy Information Administration Maps ( includes layers for crude […]


2017 Safety Summit Recap, Hurricane Season Information, and More

This update includes a valuable debrief from the 2017 Safety Summit, information regarding the upcoming hurricane season, and more.   In this update: Hurricane season information 2017 Safety Summit debrief including: Introduction to  Infrastructure Protection programs from the department of homeland security Summit presentations Sample drill reporting documents from zoos and aquariums Cybersecurity 2017 Community Guidelines to Prevent Pandemic Influenza (report)     Hurricane Season 2017 The Atlantic hurricane season will officially start on June 1st, meaning there is no better time than the present to make sure your facility is prepared.  The projected forecast  for the Atlantic hurricane season is less active than the 2016 season, with a total of 12 named storms, six (6) hurricanes, and two (2) major hurricanes expected.  Another factor in this forecast is the potential development of an El Nino Southern Oscillation sometime during the season,  in their last update NOAA put the odds of development at 50% It is important to note that there is no strong correlation between the number of storms and the number of U.S. landfalls, so facilities on the Atlantic coast should prepare regardless of the forecast.  As part of their Weather Ready Nation initiative, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has compiled a robust collection of useful links and helpful tips  for last week’s Hurricane Preparedness Week, accessible here:  https://www.weather.gov/wrn/hurricane-preparedness .   Safety Summit 2017 In late March, the ZAHP Fusion Center participated in the Safety Summit held at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Midyear meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We are happy to share the following presentations and relevant documents with you: DHS Critical Infrastructure Risk Assessment Program (courtesy of Jeff Murray, Protective Security Advisor – Department of Homeland Security) Attendees were given an introduction to the Department of Homeland Security’s Critical Infrastructure Risk Assessment Program. Under this program Protective Security Advisors are able to assist facility owners and operators via Assist Visits and a subsequent Infrastructure Survey Tool (IST) security survey,  ultimately providing a detailed assessment of the security and resilience of a facility.  More information can be found at https://www.dhs.gov/critical-infrastructure-vulnerability-assessments , but some key point from the introduction to this program are that it is:  Completely free Voluntary and non-regulatory, i.e. you will not be reported to any regulatory agencies Protected under the Critical Infrastructure Information Act, i.e. your data will not be shared Available to facilities of all business models  Each US state and territory has at least one protective security advisor that can answer any questions you may have and help you get started with the program. You can get in touch with yours by emailing pscdoperations@hq.dhs.gov. Hurricane Matthew: Information, Coordination and Lessons Learned (courtesy of Rick Holzsworth, Safety and Security – Jacksonville Zoo)  In this session, updates will be provided on preparedness and response measures in Florida institutions for Hurricane Matthew. Conducting Complex Animal Escape Drills and Pre-Planning Events (courtesy of Anne Knapp, Director of Animal Resources and Andrea Lewicki, Administrative Assistant – Zoo New England) In this session, Zoo New England […]


USDA Confirms Second Case of HPAI in TN

Yesterday the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed a second case of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in a commercial flock in Lincoln County, Tennessee.  This is the same North American wild bird origin H7N9 strain that was previously confirmed in TN. It is NOT the same H7N9 that infected humans in Asia.  The full announcement has been included at the bottom of this email.  As you may be aware,  Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza (LPAI) has also been detected in Tennessee (https://www.tn.gov/agriculture/news/49066) .  While the epidemiology  for both the low and high path strains found is ongoing, they are believed to be closely related. Facilities in the affected area should monitor information provided on their State Animal Health Official’s Websites.   If you would like to stay up to date on surveillance efforts there are a number of reports available here,  https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/animal-disease-information/avian-influenza-disease/defend-the-flock/defend-the-flock-ai-wild-birds , including Monthly Summary Data from the National Wild Bird Avian Influenza Surveillance Program.  Looking abroad, the current HPAI outbreak in Europe sadly affected a zoo last week.  Despite being kept in a tent since December as a preventative measure, one of the pelicans at the Schoenbrunn Zoo in Vienna, Austria became acutely ill and was euthanized early last week.  Subsequent testing confirmed the presence of HPAI H5N8  in the rest of the flock, and they were culled in order to protect the zoos remaining bird stock (http://www.agriculture.com/markets/newswire/vienna-zoo-puts-20-pelicans-to-sleep-after-bird-flu-virus-found). A number of you have already contacted the ZAHP Fusion Center with questions and concerns as you work on updating plains for avian influenza, and we encourage you to continue to reach out with your questions.  One commonly requested item is plan examples,  and we do have a handful of de-identified institutional plans that can be provided as an additional resource upon request.  Please send any questions or request to azielinski@aza.org.    USDA Confirms Second Case of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in a Commercial Flock in Lincoln County, Tennessee The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed a second case of highly pathogenic H7N9 avian influenza in a commercial breeder flock in Lincoln County, Tennessee.  This H7N9 strain is of North American wild bird lineage and is the same strain of avian influenza that was previously confirmed in Tennessee.  It is NOT the same as the China H7N9 virus that has impacted poultry and infected humans in Asia.  The flock of 55,000 chickens is located in the Mississippi flyway, within three kilometers of the first Tennessee case. Samples from the affected flock, which displayed signs of illness and experienced increased mortality, were tested at Tennessee’s Kord Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory and confirmed at the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa. USDA is working with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture on the joint incident response.  State officials quarantined the affected premises, and depopulation has begun.  Federal and State partners will conduct surveillance and testing of commercial and backyard poultry within a 10 kilometer (6.2 mile) radius of the site.   The United States has […]


USDA Confirms HPAI in Lincoln County, Tennessee

On March 5th the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed the detection of Highly Pathogenic H7 Avian Influenza in a commercial chicken breeder flock in Lincoln County, Tennessee, within the Mississippi flyway.  Please see the full announcement from the USDA, included at the end of this post.   We are able to provide you with additional information on this event via staff participation in a USDA industry update, and cooperation from Dr. Hayley Murphy of Zoo Atlanta, who is participating in regional calls as a subject matter expert  on the zoological community for the Georgia Department of Agriculture.  Updates on this event are as follows:  A large Surveillance Zone has been established with a 10-mile radius; this was extended from the standard 10 kilometer radius at the producer’s request.  So far, all samples from other barns on the index premises are negative for HPAI, as are samples from other sites in the surveillance area.   Initial sequencing indicates that this H7 is North American, wild bird origin.  At this time, the risk to human safety appears to be low.  Low path H7 strains have been detected in routine wild bird surveillance this year with no associated outbreaks in poultry.  This is the first HPAI H7 detected in poultry this year.  USDA continues to collect samples and will adjust surveillance strategies as more is known about this virus, or if any other premises become infected. Dr. Hayley Murphy of Zoo Atlanta is participating in regional phone calls as warranted, and will provide any pertinent information for dissemination to this group.  Update:  USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) have identified the virus as North American wild bird lineage H7N9.  This is NOT the same as the China H7N9 virus that has impacted poultry and infected humans in Asia.  See the press release for additional information.  There has also been a detection of Low Pathogenic AI, H5N2 in a turkey flock in Wisconsin.  This is also a North American origin virus and there has not been any morbidity or mortality in connection with the virus in these birds thus far, therefore not meeting any criteria for a case definition of HPAI.  USDA and Wisconsin continue to monitor this situation, and ZAHP will provide addition al updates on this detection as warranted. Depending on location, exhibitors may be contacted about participating in surveillance.  Expect that recommendations will include strong messages about prevention of contact between backyard poultry and wild birds ( this includes domestic poultry in outdoor exhibits).   Facilities looking to evaluate their preparedness for an Avian Influenza outbreak may want to review the HPAI Checklist developed by the ZAHP Fusion Center.  Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns, or would like to receive updates directly to your inbox.  USDA Confirms Highly Pathogenic H7 Avian Influenza in a Commercial Flock in Lincoln County, Tennessee Last Modified: Mar 6, 2017 Print Contacts: Donna Karlsons, 301-851-4107 Donna.L.Karlsons@aphis.usda.gov Lyndsay Cole, 970-494-7410 Lyndsay.M.Cole@aphis.usda.gov March 5, 2017, Washington – The United States Department of […]


Microgrants for Contingency Planning Available!

To promote the institutional development of contingency plans, The ZAHP Fusion Center will offer a series of micro-grants to exotic animal industry facilities to assist with their contingency planning.  Sound contingency planning requires scheduled meetings, including local planning partners, first responders and facility staff. The Fusion Center is offering to assist with individual planning by providing support (via reimbursement) for facility planning meetings and subsequent plan development.  The Fusion Center will award up to 8 – $500.00 micro-grants to assist in the planning process in the exotic animal industry.  These funds can be used for meeting expenses such as lunches (excluding alcohol), printed materials, mileage for travel, or to assist with time spent by employees in the planning process.    How to Apply To apply please complete the application and questionnaire (questions begin on page 3) . Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis until all funds have been awarded or June 1, 2017, whichever comes first.   Selection criteria will be based on the following: Existing plans   Priority will be given to facilities that have the furthest to go to develop a contingency plan. Collection  Facilities with dangerous animals will be given priority.  Non-profit entities will be given priority Match to the grant Facilities are asked to describe the ‘match’ to the $500.00 grant.  This could be in the form of meals provided to participants (excluding alcohol), or staff time committed to the meeting and subsequent plan development. Cooperation and Collaboration Any proposal that would bring together two or more facilities would be given priority.  That networking with local stakeholders and similar facilities encourages local & regional collaboration with other like facilities or groups.   If Your Facility is Selected The ZAHP Fusion Center will arrange a conference call with each facility that is awarded a grant.   This will be an opportunity to clear up any questions about the award process or expectations for awardees. The facility must hold the supported meeting by July 31, 2017 to allow ample time to complete the mandatory follow up questionnaire and phone consult, and to allow for processing of reimbursement.   Reporting Requirements and Reimbursement: Requirements for receiving reimbursement will include completion of a post-meeting questionnaire, plus a phone interview with the Fusion Center. This will allow the Fusion Center to capture any additional lessons learned, gaps, or ways forward for individual planning.  Reimbursements are payable upon completion of these requirements.    Please do not hesitate to contact us via email at azielinski@aza.org if you have any questions or concerns about this opportunity.    


HPAI Updates, Surveillance, and Outbreaks Abroad

Update 2: January 12, 2017 Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses continue to be detected around the world.  On January 9, USDA announced the detection of an HPAI H5 in Montana in a mallard duck that was part of routine surveillance activities.   It is hoped that this detection will be isolated, as was the detection in the same duck species in Alaska in late 2016.  Sadly, an H5N8 has impacted a swannery in Dorset, England,  and a Russian zoo recently depopulated its entire bird collection* due to HPAI. In addition to the H5 viruses that are spreading throughout Asia and Europe, other strains are making the news.  A rare case of H7N2 infected a Manhattan animal shelter, and caused illness in one of the attending veterinarians.    Update 1:  December 13, 2016  The United States continues to conduct surveillance for HPAI in wild birds as outbreaks continue in Europe and Asia.  Please see the bulletin from the USGS National Wildlife Health Center,   for important information on current HPAI events, domestic surveillance for HPAI in wild birds, safety guidelines and precautions, and more.  We recommend reading this bulletin in its entirety “The purpose of this Bulletin is to review events that led to the emergence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in North America in late 2014 and to provide an overview of HPAI mortality events and detections that are currently occurring in poultry and wild migratory birds of Europe and Asia”   Original Post:  Since we have moved into the migration season some of you have reached out to inquire about the status of highly pathogenic avian influenza.  Things have been quiet so far in the US, with the last positive sample having been collected from a wild mallard in Alaska this past August.  A table of positive surveillance results, updated weekly, can be found here: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/downloads/animal_diseases/ai/uspositivecases17.pdf .  The ZAHP Fusion Center is also following the developments of current HPAI events in Europe and India.   As you may be aware,  in mid-October avian flu sub-type H5N8 (new to India) was discovered at a zoo in Gwailor, India after samples were taken from some of the 15 painted storks that died over the span of a few days.  The rest of the painted storks at the zoo were culled.  This month H5N8 has been discovered in wild birds in Croatia, Hungary, Germany, and Poland, as well as in Austria on Lake Constance near the borders of Switzerland and Liechtenstein.  More information about the events in India and throughout Europe can be found at the following links:   http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/birds-in-gwalior-zoo-died-of-new-avian-flu-subtype-officials/313230.html http://www.telegraphindia.com/1161024/jsp/jharkhand/story_115177.jsp#.WCYSOYWcFYd  http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2016/11/h5n8-spreads-wild-birds-germany-austria http://www.fao.org/ag/againfo/programmes/en/empres/news_031116b.html  


New World Screwworm

The United States Department of Agriculture announced yesterday that a case of New World Screwworm has been detected outside of a Control Zone that was established in the Florida Keys last year in response to the outbreak in the Key deer population.  The new case was found in Homestead, FL in a domestic dog. Screwworm is a concern as these fly maggots, unlike most maggots, will continue to feed on perfectly healthy tissue, severely debilitating the animal and usually leads to death if not treated.  Extensive efforts have been mounted by USDA to protect the endangered Key deer and other animals. The epidemiological report can be viewed here: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/stakeholders/downloads/2017/nws-epi-report.pdf. This fly will lay its eggs on multiple species (including rarely, man) so per the USDA press release sent out January 9th:   “Residents who have warm-blooded animals (pets, livestock, etc.) should watch their animals carefully. Florida residents should report any potential cases to 1-800-HELP-FLA (1-800-435-7352) or non-Florida residents should call (850) 410-3800.  Visitors to the area should ensure any pets that are with them are also checked, in order to prevent the spread of this infestation.”