U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Document Type


Date of this Version



Veterinary Microbiology 165 (2013) 224–233



U.S. government works are not subject to copyright.


Commissioned by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1958 and opened with a dedication ceremony in December 1961, the USDA, Agricultural Research Service (ARS), National Animal Disease Center (NADC) celebrated its 50-year anniversary in November 2011. Over these 50 years, the NADC established itself among the world’s premier animal health research centers. Its historic mission has been to conduct basic and applied research on selected endemic diseases of economic importance to the U.S. livestock and poultry industries. Research from NADC has impacted control or management efforts on nearly every major animal disease in the United States since 1961. For example, diagnostic tests and vaccines developed by NADC scientists to detect and prevent hog cholera were integral in the ultimate eradication of this costly swine disease from the U.S. Most major veterinary vaccines for critical diseases such as brucellosis and leptospirosis in cattle, porcine respiratory and reproductive syndrome (PRRS), porcine parvovirus and influenza in swine had their research origins or were developed and tested at the NADC. Additional discoveries made by NADC scientists have also resulted in the development of a nutritional approach and feed additives to prevent milk fever in transition dairy cattle. More recently, NADC’s archive of historic swine influenza viruses combined with an established critical mass of influenza research expertise enabled NADC researchers to lead an effective national research response to the pandemic associated with the novel 2009 H1N1 influenza virus. This review commemorates some of the key animal health contributions in NADC’s first 50 years, recaps the newly completed modernization of the center into new facilities, and offers highlights of the ongoing research that will define NADC’s mission going forward.

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