FROM THE DIRECTOR
H. Leon Thacker, DVM, PhD
As this is written, the events of the WorldTradeCenter,
the Pentagon and in a field in eastern Pennsylvania
are yet unfolding. Our understanding of the thoughts
and feelings of individuals that led to these disasters
are largely unavailable. Our thoughts and prayers go
out to those who have lost friends and loved ones in the
disasters. We pray that our administrators and individuals
in significant positions who must make hard and firm decisions
in the coming days to address and direct our national
responses make correct and well thought judgements.
In relation to the enormity and consequences of war-like
events, any words included here will pale by comparison,
but as others have requested and suggested, our operations
will continue and the importance of our efforts to the
users of our services will not be diminished. We have
been reminded to be especially alert to diagnosing unusual
or foreign diseases in our animal populations as the potential
for terrorism to include bioterrorism tactics affecting
our animals and food supplies has also not been diminished.
The identification of West Nile
virus in Indiana
has had a definite effect on the way we perform necropsies
on horses. Even though the viremia of horses has been
shown to have low levels of virus, we have initiated procedures
to reduce and, if possible, eliminate exposure to the
virus during suspect horses necropsies. We should
all remain aware that birds dying from WNV infection usually
have high levels of virus in tissues as well as in body
fluids and feces. If we are asked to handle WNV birds,
we should protect ourselves accordingly.
We are excited about the recent availability of ADDL
laboratory results on the web. Our computer people have
done an excellent job in installing, adjusting and realigning
our new computer system. Steve Vollmer, Tim Kechkaylo
and Jennifer Hewitt, as well as Alan Bunning (who moved
to a teaching position at Lafayette Ivy Tech a few months
ago) are the individuals responsible for the success of
our present computer system.
We are also very pleased to have on board our newest
faculty member, Dr. Ramesh Vemulapalli, as molecular immunologist
on our faculty. Dr. Vemulapalli will be responsible for
development and evaluation of new tests to be offered
by ADDL. We look forward to his contributions to our
test offerings and to serving Indiana
animal owners. We also look forward to welcoming Dr.
Zheko Kounev to our faculty on October 15 of this year.
Dr. Kounev will serve as avian diagnostician and food
safety specialist on our faculty. He comes to us with
impeccable past experience in both areas in industry and
Hope you have a great fall, stop in to see us if you
are in our vicinity.