Biosecurity for USU Animals - A Fact Sheet

    Biosecurity for USU Animals - A Fact Sheet

    (from "Open-Gate" to Biosecure)

    Definition of biosecurity:

    Management practices that secure (protect) resident animals from the introduction of infectious agents harmful to animal health. Managing risk. It should also protect other farms from the spread of infectious agents from USU animals to theirs. (Control of spread of disease within a herd / flock is "biocontainment.")


    To prevent the entry of diseases not currently present in the farm animals (e.g. brucellosis, TB, trich, mycoplasma mastitis, TGE, pseudorabies and foreign animal diseases - such as foot and mouth disease).

    To control and eliminate some specific diseases which are or may be present and then keep them out of the USU herds (e.g., Johne's Disease, BVD, Staph mastitis, etc.).

    Biosecurity on a farm or ranch is a continuous process with several critical control points which must be implemented if there is to be any real security against infectious agents. These are listed and outlined below.

    1. Perimeter Security
      • Hazards
      • The entry of stray or unknown animals.

        The entry of un-informed or un-thinking persons and their clothes, equipment and vehicles (especially manure in trailers or on wheels) or foreign foods.

      • Protection Methods:
      • Fences or barriers and gates with signs to inform people of the biosecure area.

        The fences, etc., should keep out stray and unknown animals and prevent them from entering the facility. These should also cause people to stop before entering and then the signs can inform them about the special biosecure area.

        Farms or ranches need a "public area" where off-farm people or animals can be accommodated. But it is important to keep these areas separate and control traffic between the public and biosecure areas.

        Potential sign wording: "Stop! Biosecure Area; Restricted Entry; Contact Farm Manager or call (phone #) for entry permission."

    2. Visitor Approval Process
      • Hazards
      • Manure / infectious agents on footwear, clothes and vehicle tires or foreign foods.

        Transfer of disease agents from animals to humans (public health concern).

      • Protection Methods
      • The majority of visitors should usually enter only the public area or office. This would include parking in the public area and not driving their vehicle into the biosecure area.

        Those who need to enter the biosecure area should be screened with questions about foreign travel and recent visits to other U.S. animal facilities. If they have been out of the country within the past two weeks, they should receive permission from a clinician prior to entering the USU facilities.

        Those entering should be provided with protective footwear or should enter through a boot bath, with thorough cleaning of their boots / shoes. If they need to handle the animals directly, they should also be provided with clean coveralls.

        USU students and faculty will often be the visitors to our facilities. The faculty is responsible to teach the students the principles and to supervise them to insure the guidelines are followed.

        Anyone who handles or touches the animals should be encouraged by signs and verbally to wash their hands thoroughly afterwards - especially before eating.

        Potential sign wording: "CAUTION!! Intestinal infections may be transmitted from young farm animals to children, the elderly and persons with compromised immune function. Please do not allow toddlers to pet animals (hands go immediately to mouth) or to walk in animal area. Please ensure that children's shoes are clean and help them wash their hands. Please do not eat food in the animal areas."

    3. Farm Personnel
      • Hazards
      • Becoming contaminated with infections agents from their own or other animals and bringing those agents to the USU facilities, via manure or contaminated clothing or vehicle (or in foreign food products).

      • Protection Methods
      • Wear farm specific boots, clothes or coveralls.

        Use a boot bath or footwear covers if they go to another farm. Wear clean coveralls if they are to handle animals directly.

        Wash the vehicle and especially the tires if they are to enter another farm with vehicles. Use no illegal foreign food products.

        The most important aspect of a boot bath is that the location, brush and sanitizer enable people to scrub off all visible manure from their footwear. A place to stand out of the mud, a good brush and adequate water are essential. A disinfectant added to the water can also be beneficial. If a container is used, the fluid in it must be changed when it becomes contaminated.

    4. Animal Movement
      • Hazards
      • Disease organisms may be carried but not evident in the animal, even with testing. These may not become apparent for weeks or even years later.

      • Protective Methods
      • The herd of their origin should be of equal or better status in relation to the specific diseases of concern.

        All in-coming animals should be isolated away from resident animals for 21-30 days. They can also be observed and tested for diseases during this time. Just letting one animal slip through without applying this protection may result in the introduction of trich, Johne's Disease, BVD, etc.

        Vehicles used for transport should be well cleaned prior to hauling, especially if these are off-farm vehicles.

        Dogs, cats and wildlife need to be kept out of the feed, mangers and feedbunk areas.

    5. Feed and Water
      • Hazards
      • Introduction of BSE (mad cow disease) prions via mammalian protein.

        Introduction of pathogenic strains of salmonella or E. coli and amplification through the watering system.

      • Protective Methods
      • Do not feed any mammalian derived protein sources and document all protein supplements that are used.

        Ask for documentation on salmonella and coliform status of feeds likely to carry.

        Clean out the water troughs often.

    6. Vehicle Movement
      • Hazards
      • Manure on the tires or in the trailer, etc.

      • Protective Methods
      • Keep most vehicles in the public area.

        Provide a load/unload area at the public area.

        Clean the tires/wheels before every entry/departure, for those which must enter.

        Clean out the bedding or other floor covering, discard it in a safe place and then wash out the hauling compartment.

    7. Manure Management
      • Hazards
      • Infected manure getting into the feed and/or mouth of resident animals.

      • Protective Methods
      • Use a separate tractor bucket to move feed than that used to move manure.

        Clean off boots and tires before entry to animal or feed areas.

        Don't walk or drive in feed areas.

        Don't apply manure or lagoon water to hay or grazing areas which are to be harvested within a year.

      Concern for Human Health Safety - Petting Zoos, County Fairs, etc.

      Hazards (especially for children and elderly or immunocompromized)

      E. coli O157 and Salmonella

      Hand to mouth contamination.

      Manure on footwear and hand contamination.

      Protective Methods

      Request they not touch animals (by both posted signs and verbally).

      Provide hand washing stations at children's height.

      Protective footwear coverings, disposable clothing.

      Summary of Recommendations

      Develop a specific plan for each farm site.

      Keep it practical but improve the protective level of biosecurity.

      Erect additional fences, barriers and gates.

      Provide signs with instructions and cautions.

      Verbal screening of visitors about having been in a foreign country (14 days).

      Manage manure and vehicles

      Provide clean feed and water.

      Know protein source fed and do not use mammalian proteins for ruminants.

      Provide hand washing sinks for children and keep their feet free of manure.