What happens when pathogens and disease get established on an animal facility?

The biosecurity protocols are in place to also keep disease hazards from spreading to other facilities or to other animal groups on the site or off the farm to neighboring farms and other similar animal operations. Instead of trying to keep health hazards off the farm, attention is now focused on containing the spread of the pathogen from the infected barn, animal group or site. Good biosecurity protocols that work in preventing disease entry, work just as well in this type of disease containment.

There are two strategic procedures in disease containment: isolation and quarantine

1. Isolation
Refers to the separation and restriction of movement or activities of the infected animals from other animals to prevent transmission to others:

  • Separation of infected animals from rest of the operations animal population (lock facility)
  • Separation of barn/facility from other of the operations facilities (lock gates, doors)
  • Separation of the operation site from the rest of the commodity and agricultural community (entry gates closed & locked)
  • Use separate clothing when entering the infected facility (coveralls, hair covering, gloves, boots, face mask and goggles)
  • When exiting the infected facility leave clothing in sealable container (garbage bag)
  • Stop live animal movements onto and off of the infected site
  • Isolated sites maintain communications with telephone, fax, email, etc.
  • No farm vehicles or equipment to leave infected farm site unless fully cleaned & disinfected (C&D) prior to exit

2. Quarantine
Refers to the separation and restriction of movement and activities of animals that may be or have been exposed to an infectious agent, to reduce the potential transmission of infection agents

  • Use veterinarian services to identify, treat and advise on other biosecurity steps to take to lessen the diseases effects on your operation
  • Use infection control methods such as vaccinations, medications, culling, proper mortality and waste handling & disposal
  • Set up a sanitation station outside the farm gate for C&D procedures for vehicles and equipment
  • Where possible, reduce the number of farm staff/personnel in the infected facility
  • Inform commodity association, suppliers and customers of quarantine
  • No visitors or service personnel allowed on farm
  • Reduce traffic in and around the infected site/facility
  • Only necessary supplies/deliveries allowed onto the operation site (eg. feed)
  • Delivery vehicles (feed trucks) are to be sanitized prior to exiting the infected site (minimum of undercarriage and wheels to be sanitized)
  • No travel to agricultural events, meetings, conferences, etc.
  • Arrange for delivery of necessary items through offsite persons, commodity board/association, etc.
  • Instruct staff on need for restricted travel and contacts while quarantine is in effect
  • Restrict product and live animal movement until disease threat is over

Once an infectious pathogen has established and has been identified, only by these containment processes can production facilities prevent or reduce the potential of the spread of a devastating disease. Depending on the infectious nature of the pathogen, containment may result in farms, zones or even regions coming under containment procedures put in place by regulatory authorities. Example of this would be Highly Pathogenic Avian influenza or Foot & Mouth Disease which are both federally reportable diseases.