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Prevent infection  –  Food animals

Interventions

This section provides resources on different strategies and tools for infection prevention and control interventions in animal farming. These aim to help limit the spread of disease and antibiotic resistance.

2 principles to prevent diseases in animals

There are two main principles to prevent infectious diseases in animals. The first one is to diminish exposure to the infectious agent and the second one is to increase the animal’s ability to resist disease.

Measures to diminish exposure

Total exclusion from exposure: Eradication

To be able to eradicate a specific infectious disease, the epidemiology of the infectious agent must be known. Also, diagnostic capacity to identify infected animals or holdings as well as technical infrastructure to be able to stop the spread of the disease and eliminate the source of infection is essential. After the eradication, measures to prevent reinfection must be implemented. Eradication can occur on several levels such as locally on individual farms, within regions or on a national level.

Partial exclusion from exposure: Prevention

By disease prevention, the microbial exposure is minimized to a level where no clinical disease is manifested in the heard. Important measure to reach this are:

  • Improved hygiene
  • Isolation of sick animals
  • Avoiding introduction of animals of unknown health status into the heard
  • Use of all-in, all-out concept with cleaning and disinfection between batches of animals

Measures to increase host resistance

The end goal is to reach a health oriented farming system, where both the physiological and behavioral needs of the animals are met. To reach optimal general disease resistance of an animal, several factors have to be fulfilled, such as:

  • Nutritional needs
  • Animal rearing and housing
  • Management routines

Also, immunity of the animal to specific infection can be stimulated by the use of vaccines. Vaccination is an efficient measure to prevent specific bacterial diseases.

Disease prevention in aquaculture – the Norwegian example

Norway is one of the world’s main salmon producers, with an annual production of Atlantic salmon of 1.3 million tons. It is also one of the countries with the lowest use of antibiotics in the aquaculture sector. Thus, large scale production of salmon is possible without regular use of antibiotics. Norway has managed to dramatically decrease the use of antibiotics, which peaked in 1989-1990. At the same time the aquaculture production has increased more than tenfold. How? The most important factors have been:

  • Development of new vaccines and vaccination strategies
  • Sanitary measures to prevent horizontal disease transmission (between sites and between salmon year classes)
  • Strong legislative measures and consensus between governmental authorities and the industry to focus on disease control

Awareness and education

Awareness raising and education is important if infection prevention and control measures shall be accepted and implemented properly. Passive educational strategies (such as posters and leaflets) are easier to implement but less effective compared with active strategies, such as one-on-one educational sessions addressing relevant topics. At farm level, it has been shown that increasing farmers’ awareness of good farming practices and biosecurity is important. See also the RAISE AWARENESS focus area for more inspiration and materials for awareness raising.

Evaluate impact of interventions

In MEASURE, you can access tools and resources to help determine the impact of interventions and conduct studies on a variety of topics that relates to rational use in animal farming:

Selected Resources

General

Resource Description
FarmBiosecurity Information, tools and manuals. Farm Biosecurity is a joint initiative of Animal Health Australia and Plant Health Australia. The webpage collects information about diseases affecting crops and animals, and provides tools and manuals on how producers can reduce the risks of diseases entering or spreading. Multiple animal species
This best practice framework from EPRUMA provides the building blocks that the farmer can implement to develop a farm-specific health plan.
Where There is No Vet A guide book for farmers to aid them to keep their animals healthy. Has informative chapters on disease prevention and also good information on how medicine should be labelled.
Five keys to growing safer fruits and vegetables: promoting health by decreasing microbial contamination Training manual on how to grow safer crops, which has been developed to support food safety education of rural workers, by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Poultry

Resource Description
Improvement of Biosecurity and Production Practices in Hatcheries and Parent Flocks (PDF) This FAO document shows how small scale parent flock farms and hatcheries in Vietnam can improve conditions while also making a larger profit. See also fact sheet here (PDF) on how simple biosecurity measures can change a farmer’s life.
Biosecurity guide for live poultry markets (PDF 5,2MB) Manual from FAO produced for live poultry market managers. Provides practical options for improving the hygiene and biosecurity at markets. Also Available in Chinese (simplified) and French.
Farm Biosecurity: Less diseases, better performance, and higher profits Teaching sessions (slide presentations) from FAO covering important biosecurity aspects in poultry farms.

Pigs

Resource Description
Pig management: Ensuring appropriate husbandry practices for profitability -Uganda smallholder pig value chain capacity development training manual Training manual that outlines the training of smallholder farmers to improve biosecurity and practices in their farms to prevent infectious diseases and thus the need for use of veterinary drugs. Describes training sessions and includes exercises and handouts.
Good practices for biosecurity in the pig sector Guidance from FAO guidance outline the biosecurity principles to limit pig-to-pig transmission of disease and reduce the impact of infectious swine diseases, including economic losses.

Cattle/ruminants

Resource Description
Biosecurity Information Leaflets This series of information leaflets from Animal Health Ireland aims to provide science-based, practical advice and guidelines on disease prevention and control that are easily implemented on farms.
Guide to good dairy farming practice Manual developed by an IDF/FAO Project Group of the IDF Standing Committee on Farm Management. It gives dairy farmers proactive guidance on how to reach good dairy farming practice on their farm.

Aquaculture

Resource Description
Use of Vaccines in Finfish Aquaculture Fact sheet with basic information about vaccine use in finfish aquaculture (IFAS Extension, University of Florida, 2014).
Improving biosecurity through prudent and responsible use of veterinary medicines in aquatic food production Guideline from FAO that discusses the use of veterinary medicines in aquaculture and gives examples of good practice and disease prevention measures.

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Mayega L, Dione MM, Kawuma B, Brandes-van Dorresteijn D, Smith J. Pig management: Ensuring appropriate husbandry practices for profitability -Uganda smallholder pig value chain capacity development training manual [Internet]. International Livestock Research Institute; 2015 [cited 2019 Aug 14]. Available from: https://cgspace.cgiar.org/handle/10568/64960
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Wierup M. Principles and Strategies for the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases in Livestock and Wildlife. In: Ecosystem Health & Sustainable Agriculture, Book 2 [Internet]. The Baltic University Programme, Uppsala University; 2012. p. 380. Available from: http://www2.balticuniv.uu.se/bup-3/index.php/public/textbooks-course-materials/course-materials/ecosystem-health-sustainable-agriculture/2-ecology-and-animal-health?limit=20&limitstart=20
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Statistics Norway. Aquaculture, 2015, preliminary figures [Internet]. ssb.no. 2016 [cited 2016 Sep 23]. Available from: https://www.ssb.no/en/jord-skog-jakt-og-fiskeri/statistikker/fiskeoppdrett/aar-forelopige/2016-06-02
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Yanong RPE. Use of Vaccines in Finfish Aquaculture [Internet]. IFAS Extension, University of Florida; 2014 [cited 2016 Sep 23]. Available from: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fa156
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Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations - FAO. Biosecurity guide for live poultry markets [Internet]. Rome, Italy; 2015 [cited 2016 Mar 21]. 56 p. Available from: http://www.fao.org/publications/card/en/c/5a3c4d30-efd1-47f2-a805-589676cacfef
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Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations - FAO. Farm Biosecurity: Less diseases, better performance, and higher profits [Internet]. 2011 [cited 2016 Aug 17]. Available from: http://www.fao.org/avianflu/en/news/farm_biosec.html
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Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations - FAO, International Dairy Federation. Guide to good dairy farming practice. Animal Production and Health Guidelines [Internet]. 2011 [cited 2016 Aug 17];8. Available from: http://www.fao.org/docrep/014/ba0027e/ba0027e00.htm
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European Platform for the Responsible Use of Medicines in Animals - EPRUMA. Best-practice framework for the use of antibiotics in food-producing animals - Reaching for the next level [Internet]. 2015 [cited 2016 Jun 29]. Available from: http://www.epruma.eu/publications/brochures/publication/36-best-practice-framework-for-the-use-of-antimicrobials-in-food-producing-animals-in-the-eu-reaching-for-the-next-level.html
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