Biosecurity - Protecting Your Farm

Dr. Clell V. Bagley, D.V.M.
USU Extension Veterinarian

Recently there has been much written and talked about of protecting our nation. There are things you can and should do to help protect your own farm and animals from diseases you do not currently have and against foreign animal diseases. Two recent events caught my attention and could be used for education.

The Dean of a College of Veterinary Medicine (another state) and colleagues visited Mongolia for two weeks last October. This is his report of their experience as they returned to the U.S. �Mongolia has classical swine fever (hog cholera), glanders (horses), foot and mouth disease, and other diseases we do not want in our domestic livestock populations. Upon re-entering the U.S., we were not inspected or questioned by Customs about our activities in any manner. This was significantly different from other times I have returned from similar trips.�

This is scary, and not very logical in light of the concerns for U.S. protection. The inspection and cautions should be increased, not eliminated.

The second event was noted in the local newspaper and described a farm tour in a neighboring state by a delegation from Mongolia. There is nothing against Mongolia - the problem would be of just as much concern if the delegation was from Central or South America, as they have similar disease problems in many of those countries. I wonder if they were scrutinized by Customs any more than was the Dean. I wonder where they had been just before they came here. I wonder if they visited any farms here, and if so, what precautions were taken as they entered those farms.

Below is an example of a plan for biosecurity that you may want to consider for your own farm. It is quite simple, but provides some guidelines that would give reasonable protection for most situations. It is the guide that is supposed to be followed for those who visit the USU animal farms. I hope it is being implemented - if not, we are at great risk even right here.

Biosecurity at ADVS/UAES Farms
(Department of Animal, Dairy and Veterinary Sciences / Utah Ag Experiment Station)

Biosecurity measures have been established at the ADVS/UAES farms to reduce the risk of bringing manure and infectious agents from elsewhere to these facilities and animals (and vice versa). Please follow these guidelines.

1. If you have been out of the U.S. within in the past 14 days, please do NOT enter the Biosecure areas until you have permission from a USU Veterinary Clinician.

2. Park in designated sites within the �public� area (outside the Biosecure area).

3. Vehicle entry to Biosecure area:

    Do not take vehicles into the Biosecure areas without permission of the Farm Manager or a USU Veterinary Clinician.

    If vehicles have been in manure on other farms, the tires and vehicle should be thoroughly washed prior to entry. If the vehicles were used to haul manure on other farms, the entire vehicle should be cleaned and washed.

4. Personnel entry to Biosecure areas:

    Disposable boot/shoe covers should be used to cover footwear.
    Rubber boots can be cleaned and disinfected before and after each visit. A boot brush and water MUST be used to clean off ALL manure and debris. A boot bath with disinfectant can then be utilized.

5. Clothing:

    If �animal handling� is not involved, the wearing of washed , clean clothes is adequate.

    If animals are to be �handled,� clean coveralls should be worn. Disposable coveralls would be adequate.

6. Human health and precautions:

    Injury - always stay alert and be cautious when around animals.

    Animals can carry infectious agents which may be transmitted to and cause disease in humans. This is a special concern for those who have reduced immunity (are immunocompromised). Persons working with animals should keep their hands/fingers out of their own mouth and wash their hands (and/or shower) as needed, especially prior to eating. Food should not be brought to farm sites during animal related activities. Children should be required to wash their hands during and after any farm visits and adequate provision should be made so they can wash. ©