Inside America’s Only Foreign Animal Disease Laboratory: Plum Island

About the size of Central Park and a few miles off the coast of Long Island, Plum Island houses the nation’s only laboratory that is capable of conducting live research of foot-and-mouth disease, a highly contagious animal disease that hasn’t struck the US with an outbreak since 1929.

Because of this, visitors are strictly forbidden unless they’ve received security protocol from the Department of Homeland Security.

The lab’s very location on an island was intentional when it was built in 1954: so nothing reaches its shore, and nothing leaves.

Motherboard gets a rare peak inside the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, and speaks to the scientists tasked with developing foot-and-mouth disease vaccines at one of the most protected labs in the world.

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