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Prevent infection  –  Food animals

Set up a program

The main diseases that drives antibiotic use in the animal sector are common infectious endemic diseases such as mastitis, pneumonia and diarrhea. These diseases also cause decreased productivity. Thus, disease prevention is an important factor both to lower antibiotic use and to increase the productivity of the animal.

There is no universal best practice to prevent diseases in farm animals, as the measures have to be specific to the problems on the individual farm. A possible starting point is to do an analysis of the herd management, biosecurity and health situation of the farm. This will indicate what measures that will be valuable and applicable at the specific farm. In order to evaluate the health status of the heard it is good to establish a disease recording system. Ideally this should be based on both clinical observations within the herd and recording of lesions at slaughter. Data on weight gain, pregnancy results and farrowing rate are also valuable for evaluation of the health status of the herd.

After health status among animals has been improved, changes in how antibiotics are used can be introduced with retained animal health and productivity.

Biosecurity

Improved biosecurity and herd management optimization have been shown to increase productivity parameters and decrease disease treatment incidence in farm animals. Despite this, biosecurity measures at farm level can be poorly implemented. Introduction and continous improvement of biosecurity measures is essential for a health oriented farming system.

What is biosecurity?

Biosecurity is the series of management steps taken to prevent the introduction of infectious agents into an animal herd or flock. It usually involves testing incoming animals, and some sort of quarantine or isolation for newly purchased or returning animals (external biosecurity). Biosecurity also includes measures to diminish the spread of an infectious agent that have reached a herd (internal biosecurity or biocontainment).

Prevention of foodborne zoonoses

Food is one of the potential routes of transmission of antibiotic resistance. Both zoonotic bacteria and the normal gut flora of the animal can carry resistance genes, and these bacteria can contaminate the meat during slaughter. Measures to reduce the risk of spreading antibiotic resistance via food are the same as for other food safety issues, and includes the whole food chain such as disease prevention at farm, and appropriate hygiene from farm to fork.

Guidelines on processes and methodology for risk analysis concerning foodborne antibiotic resistance related to non-human use of antimicrobial agents have been developed. These guidelines also provide advice on appropriate risk management activities to reduce such risk.

Selected Resources

Resource Description
Information on aquatic and terrestrial animal diseases Information portal from OIE with resources and information on more than 100 diseases affecting animals. Diseases listed in alphabetical order and for the type of animal.
Guide to good farming practices for animal production food safety Guidance for Competent Authorities assisting farmers and other stakeholders in keeping livestock to produce safe food. Spanish and French versions included.
Guidelines for Animal Disease Control (PDF 0,78 MB) Guidelines for identifying priorities, objectives and the desired goal during development and implementation of disease control programs. Highlights the importance of economic assessment of disease intervention options in the design of programs taking into consideration effectiveness, feasibility of implementation, as well as costs and benefits. The purpose is to provide a conceptual framework that can be adapted to a particular national and epidemiological context.
Guide to good dairy farming practice Guideance 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. Dairy farms/cattle
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. Pigs
Biosecurity guide for live poultry markets (PDF 5,2MB) Guide 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.Poultry
Improving biosecurity through prudent and responsible use of veterinary medicines in aquatic food production Guideline from FAO that gives examples of good practice and disease prevention measures in aquaculture. Aquaculture
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
Biocheck.ugent Tool. Biocheck.ugent is a risk-based scoring tool to evaluate the quality of biosecurity of pig and poultry herds, developed by the Veterinary Epidemiology Unit of Ghent University. Pig and poultry
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. Cattle
EIP-AGRI Focus Group on Reducing antibiotics in pig farming: Final report This report from a focus group launched by the European Commission identifies three main areas to focus on to reduce antibiotic use – improvement of animal health, providing specific alternatives to antibiotics and changing attitudes, and suggests further recommendations for action. Pigs
Farm Biosecurity: Less diseases, better performance, and higher profits Teaching sessions (slide presentations) from FAO covering important biosecurity aspects in poultry farms. Poultry
Guidelines for Veterinary Personal Biosecurity Guidelines from the Australian Veterinary Association for veterinarians and animal handlers on how to reduce the risk of contracting disease from animals (zoonotic disease) and prevent animal disease. Provides information on infection control and how to handle high risk situations for veterinary practices of all types
Animal contact guidelines – reducing the risk of illness Guidelines from the government of South Australia that provides instructions on how to reduce the risk of visitors contracting an infection from animals when visiting an animal farm or show, petting zoo, wildlife exhibit or similar.
Foodborne zoonotic diseases Information portal on foodborne zoonoses from the European Food Safety Authority.

More from "Food animals"

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Information on aquatic and terrestrial animal diseases [Internet]. OIE - World Organisation for Animal Health. [cited 2019 Aug 14]. Available from: https://www.oie.int/en/animal-health-in-the-world/information-on-aquatic-and-terrestrial-animal-diseases/
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World Organisation for animal health - OIE. Guidelines for Animal Disease Control [Internet]. 2014 [cited 2019 Aug 14]. Available from: https://www.oie.int/fileadmin/Home/eng/Our_scientific_expertise/docs/pdf/A_Guidelines_for_Animal_Disease_Control_final.pdf
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Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations - FAO, World Health Organization - WHO. CODEX ALIMENTARIUS International Food Standards - Antimicrobial Resistance [Internet]. FAO; WHO; [cited 2015 Nov 27]. Available from: http://www.fao.org/fao-who-codexalimentarius/thematic-areas/antimicrobial-resistance/en/
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Government of South Australia. Animal contact guidelines - reducing the risk of illness [Internet]. [cited 2016 Aug 19]. Available from: http://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/Public+Content/SA+Health+Internet/Protecting+public+health/Animal+contact/
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Animal Health Ireland. Biosecurity Information Leaflets [Internet]. [cited 2016 Feb 26]. Available from: http://www.animalhealthireland.ie/page.php?id=132
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Animal Health Australia, Plant Health Australia. Farm Biosecurity [Internet]. [cited 2016 Aug 17]. Available from: http://www.farmbiosecurity.com.au/
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