Bio-security key to prevent diseases in livestock as well as poultry farm

Kalyan Sarma and Girin Kalita
In today’s animal agricultural industries various trends are present which may potentially increase the spread and level of infectious diseases in herds. In either case it is important to the animal industry both for confidence in agricultural products, market share and for economic reasons to prevent the spread of infectious diseases from farm to farm. It’s also an example of the old saying “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. The series of management practices that are employed to prevent the importation of infectious agents from entering a farm is termed biosecurity.
What are the benefits ?
Good biosecurity:
I. Helps keep out exotic diseases such a Foot and Mouth disease, Classical Swine Fever, Avian influenza and Newcastle disease.
II. Reduces the risk of zoonotic disease such as salmonella
III. Limits the occurrence and spread of diseases and helps to protect surrounding areas, public health and the country side;
IV. Improves overall flock health;
V. Cuts costs of disease treatment; and reduces losses, which could improve farm profitability.
How does disease spread?
I. Movement of animals, birds, people, vehicles and equipment between and within farms;
II. The introduction of animals and birds of low or unknown health status;
III. Contact with neighbours’ herds and flocks;
IV. Using shared unclean farm equipment and vehicles
V. Contact with vermin and wild birds;
VI. Drinking from contaminated water sources;
VII. Eating contaminated feed;
VIII. Unsatisfactory cleansing and disinfection of vehicles, shed, feeding troughs and other equipment.
Biosecurity principles
Biosecurity has three major components:
1. Isolation. Strict isolation prevents contact between groups of animals after arrival on farm and reduces the risk of spread of infectious agents.
2. Resistance 1 - includes Treatment and immunization
3. Sanitation. – Disinfection of materials, people and equipment entering the farm and the cleanliness of the people and equipment on the farm.
The single biggest biosecurity risk is posed by the addition of animals to a herd or flock. New additions of animals to the herd should be inspected carefully, screened, and quarantined for infectious diseases. These steps are the foundation for isolation. Apparently healthy looking animals can still be in the pre-patent state (infected, but not yet showing disease) or carrier state of infection. These silent carriers can easily spread infections to other animals, especially when stressed or housed adjacent to susceptible animals. Careful screening and appropriate testing will help to limit the addition of animals with unwanted infectious conditions. New herd additions should be quarantined for a minimum of two weeks or a more ideal four weeks. All animal discharges, manure, urine, and fetal fluids should be isolated from the quarantine animals and the established herd. The use of an effective quarantine program can greatly reduce many of the acute biosecurity hazards. Rapid early detection and treatment when appropriate can prevent the initial case of an outbreak from spreading through the herd.
The second important aspect of a biosecurity program is resistance. Resistance includes nutritional, environmental, pharmacological and immunological practices that improve the animal’s ability to resist disease. Antibiotics and immunizations have been the primary tool for controlling infectious disease in the past. Therapy and immunization can then be viewed as adjunct treatments. A sound nutritional program that promotes good overall health and growth and an environment that minimizes stress, promotes the animal’s resistance to all sorts of infectious agents. A truly effective immunization programme needs to be adapted to the farm. A well-designed immunization plan will compliment animal health but cannot be substituted for good management or prevent infection in the face of overwhelming challenge. The local private veterinary practitioner is the person best able to assess and recommend the most cost effective immunization program for a specific farm.
The final piece to the IRS acronym is sanitation. Sanitation is the key factor in minimizing spread and limiting the course of infectious diseases. This involves the removal or eradication of persistently infected or carrier animals, as well as the disinfection of any potentially contaminated equipment or facilities. This will help to eliminate the source of the infectious agents. Disinfection of partitions, floors, and other objects that can serve as fomites or harbour pathogens must be part of the biosecurity plan.
What is biosecurity Plan?
Biosecurity plan is a set of practices designed to prevent the entry and spread of infectious diseases into and from a farm. Biosecurity requires the adoption of a set of attitudes and behaviours by people, to reduce risk in all activities involving production and marketing.
(To be contd)