Biosecurity management practices may include testing and screening for infectious agents, isolation/quarantine of infected animals, immunization, selective purchasing, animal monitoring, and herd evaluation. Good biosecurity is a preventative approach to maintaining herd health, since effectively minimizing the risk of disease should minimize the occurrence of disease.
Despite all of the talk of the importance of biosecurity, there are frequently cases when insufficient action is taken to implement and maintain effective management practices. Sound biosecurity practices rarely require a significant capital investment, but sometimes changing behaviors and practices can be challenging!
There are three steps to implementing a biosecurity program:
- Risk assessment. This step involves identifying general disease biosecurity concerns, including whether or not diseases are present on the farm, traffic into and off of the premises, traffic patterns on the farm, personnel training, etc. Specific diseases (eg. Johne's Disease) may require assessment of some specific risk factors.
- Risk management. This step involves developing, implementing and monitoring an effective, manageable biosecurity plan based on the risk assessment findings in Step 1.
- Risk communication. In order for the risk management plan to be effective, it not only has to be based on a sound risk assessment, but it must be communicated to all affected personnel and individuals. This includes those who are employed on the farm and have an integral role in the plan, as well as those who provide service to, and visit, the farm.
Various resources are provided regarding general and disease-specific biosecurity. Please contact your veterinarian, or the Veterinary Extension and Applied Research Team (Dr. Ernest Hovingh, firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like more information about developing and implementing an effective biosecurity program for your animals.