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In 2005, the Department of Homeland Security announced plans to replace the old Plum Island Animal Disease Center off Long Island with a facility on the U.S. mainland to study Foot and Mouth Disease and other dangerous pathogens. Kansas won the job in 2008, with a site on the campus of Kansas State University in Manhattan.But today, more than three years later, the proposed $1.14 billion National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility faces funding obstacles, safety questions, rising costs and political fallout. For Kansas and the Midwest, the stakes couldn’t be higher.Here you’ll find coverage and updates from Harvest Public Media, KCUR and Kansas Public Media.

K-State Wins DHS Center To Study Animal Diseases


Kansas City , Mo. – The latest feather in the cap for the so-called "animal health corridor" is the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases, or CEEZAD.

The center is a $12 million dollar investment by the Department of Homeland Security at K-State. It will compliment the work of the National Bio and Agro Defense Facility. The so-called NBAF is the high-security lab Manhattan recently won in a competitive bidding process that will be researching foreign and domestic animal diseases and vaccines.

Dr. Juergen Richt will direct the CEEZAD center.

An expert in the area of emerging diseases, Richt says the nation is ill-prepared to respond to the intentional or unintentional introduction of one of many global diseases easily transmitted between animals and humans.

One such disease is Rift Vally Fever. Richt says it occurs in some parts of Africa and Arabia: "This is a disease transmitted by mosquitos and it can come to our shores by mosquitos. We have to be prepared, because it can happen any day."

The Kansas Bioscience Authority named Richt one of it's "eminent scholars." The goal of the KBA is to bring high-caliber researchers and venture capital to the area to foster economic development in animal health and science.

I partner with communities to uncover the ignored or misrepresented stories by listening and letting communities help identify and shape a narrative. My work brings new voices, sounds, and an authentic sense of place to our coverage of the Kansas City region. My goal is to tell stories on the radio, online, on social media and through face to face conversations that enhance civic dialogue and provide solutions.
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