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

Kalyan Sarma / 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.

For this, there are three types of biosecurity measures of disease control as follows.
1. Conceptual biosecurity
2. Structural biosecurity
3. Operational biosecurity

Conceptual Biosecurity

o It is best to build farm in an isolated area, at least three km away from nearest farm in the case of breeder farm and 1.6 km in the case of commercial farm.
o In the case of breeders, the farm should be away from the major road ways
o Maintain enough distance between breeders and grow-out farms and facilities such as hatcheries and feed mill

Structural Biosecurity

o Fencing of farm to prevent unwanted visitors.
o Analysis of water for minerals, bacteria, chemical contamination and pathogen load (once in 2-3 months)
o Feed should be stored in suitable location.
o Scientific disposal of dead birds and waste.
o Restrict the entry of wild birds and rodent.
o Feed, litter and equipment should be stored in a section separated from live bird area to prevent contamination.
o Proper decontamination and disinfection of equipment, houses

Operational Biosecurity

o Microbes enter through air and mechanical carriers like human beings, vehicles, predators (vultures, wild birds).
o Exchange of infected equipment and material among farms or with traders.
o Unauthorised visitors should be completely banned to enter poultry houses.
o Outside vehicles should not be allowed to enter farm premises
o Footbath at entrance.
o Farm vehicles allowed through disinfectant dips
o In breeding farms, all visitors and workers require showering and use clean farm clothes to prevent cross contamination between them.
o Wild birds control
o Maintain record for visitors and their purpose.
o In the case of breeders, no vehicles or equipment should be allowed within the farm area from the time of delivery of flock until disposal.
o In commercial broiler unit, a minimum inter flock interval of two weeks is recommended.
o Control pest and rodent through biological, chemical and mechanical means.
o Recycling of egg packing materials etc. should be decontaminated at the pot of entry of farm.
o Routine disease monitoring procedures like post mortem examination and periodic serum antibody assay to determine immune status of the flock.
o Regular culling of unhealthy, unproductive and diseased birds
o Periodical vaccination and medication.
o Supply of feed & water

The basic steps of a good biosecurity plan appropriate for livestock exhibitors are listed below.

Before and During Shows:

o Do not exhibit animals that have clinical signs of any contagious disease.
o Examination by a veterinarian and a health certificate issued prior to the fair.
o Change or wash clothing and shoes worn at the fair before returning to work with other animals.
o Do not share equipment among exhibitors, unless it is disinfected between uses.
o As much as possible, use separate feeding and watering equipment for the show animals and home-based animals.
o When handling animals that are actively infected with ringworm or club lamb fugus, wear rubber gloves and wash with a detergent soap after handling.
o Many shows for market animals have the option of selling the animal for harvest at the conclusion of the show.
o Support the requirement and enforcement of animal health regulations.

After Bringing Animals Home from a Show:

o Isolate animals that you take home for a minimum of 21 days before reintroducing them to your Flock or herd.
o Animals should d be separated by a minimum of 300 yards.
o Closely monitor all animals for fever and other signs of infection.
o There should be a complete change of clothing and shoes worn at the fair, before retuning to work with other animals at home.
o Fair clothing and footwear should be thoroughly washed before wearing it around the livestock at home.
o Any feeding, watering or other equipment that has been to the show should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before using it with home based animals.

By strict execution of above discussed measures, microbial load in a farm can be reduce to a great level, which enable the farmers to adopt cost effective measures in terms of antibiotics and feeding, water treatment, litter treatment etc. The recent trend of production of healthy food for human can only be possible adopting proper bio-security measures.

For further details contact: -
Public Relations& Media Management Cell,
CAU, Imphal.

* Kalyan Sarma / Girin Kalita wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writers are from College of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry, Central Agricultural University, Selesih, Aizawl, Mizoram
This article was webcasted on October 03 2022 .

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