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Prevent infection  –  Food animals

Getting started


Identifying and engaging stakeholders are the first steps of a project. Depending on the end goal, they may be farmers, veterinarians, paraprofessionals, academics or government officials. A stakeholder analysis tool can be used to help identify stakeholders and their level of interest and power to influence. Assemble a team of relevant and interested people to coordinate work and motivate stakeholders to take action. Participatory processes have been shown to be effective tools to motivate engagement by creating ownership in the process.


There is no universal best practice to prevent diseases in farm animals, as the measures have to be specific to the problems aton 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 keep records of individual animal’s health and medicine use. 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.

Biosecurity online tools

Calculate your on farm biosecurity using these online calculators:

The Biocheck.UGent app developed by the University of Gent can be used to evaluate the quality of on-farm biosecurity.

The FarmBiosecurity app allows you to create a biosecurity action plan along six essential principles
1.    Farm inputs
2.    People, vehicles and equipment
3.    Production practices
4.    Feral animals and weeds
5.    Farm outputs
6.    Training, planning and recording


A good plan for infection prevention will have clear aims and objectives and cover which actions should be taken by whom and when. It should consider what resources are needed and how to measure progress, and that many of the components influence each other. The plan can include risk assessments, a monitoring and evaluation framework and a communication plan.

Efforts to improve infection prevention should ideally take a multifaceted approach, combining different strategies into a package that are is manageable in the setting and takes advantage of synergies between measures. Possible areas to focus on include:

  • Biosecurity: reducing the risk for diseases entering, spreading within and leaving a farm. Create a biosecurity plan.
  • Improved animal management practices: making animals less susceptible to disease by improving feed, reducing stress, introducing vaccines and creating guidelines.
  • Facility design: building or modifying facilities to accommodate new biosecurity routines, reduce animal stress and support health.
  • Training and education: raising awareness and increasing knowledge can help to change attitudes, habits and behavior among farmers and farm staff, advisors and veterinary professionals, but also increase acceptance of interventions. See RAISE AWARENESS – Training manuals and courses and How do people change.
  • Monitoring and surveillance: keeping track of animal health, infections, production parameters and medicine use by improved record keeping. Perform audits and feedback. See MEASURE – Infections and Consumption.

See also Interventions for more details.


When you have agreed on what to do, it’s time to start implementing. No matter how much time has been spent planning, problems can arise and the needs or resources can rapidly change. Piloting interventions can reveal some of these problems and test the feasibility and impact of the interventions. Pilot projects can then be scaled up, for example by extending the timeframe or including more farms.


Evaluating work is important to see if goals are being reached and to identify areas of improvement. It is also important to encourage improvement and promote learning from experiences without fear of negative consequences.

Communication of results gives feedback to collaborating partners and other stakeholders. Positive progress and all partners should be acknowledged and public recognition should be given. Affirmation of hard work will provide incentive for stakeholders to continually improve and be involved in the process.

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

Resources below have been separated into the following tables:

  • Guidelines and standards (reference documents/guidelines from international organizations).
  • Engage and assess
  • Plan, implement and evaluate

Selected Resources

Guidelines and standards

Resource Description
CODEX ALIMENTARIUS International Food Standards: Antimicrobial Resistance Standards for the responsible use of antimicrobials in food-producing animals. The “Code of practice to minimize and contain antimicrobial resistance” (CAC/RCP 61-2005) describes the responsibilities for regulatory authorities, veterinary pharmaceutical industry, wholesalers, retailers, veterinarians and farmers. “Guidelines for Risk Analysis of Foodborne Antimicrobial Resistance” (CAC/GL 77-2011) gives guidance on assessing the risk to human health from foodborne antibiotic resistant bacteria, and determining appropriate management strategies to control those risks. Available in English, French and Spanish.
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 Veterinary Personal Biosecurity Example 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. Also contains a model infection control plan.

Engage and assess

Resource Description
Building Coalitions for Containing Antimicrobial Resistance: A Guide Guide by SIAPS for how to identify key stakeholders, mobilize their support, formulate and implement a plan and subsequently evaluate outcomes. Provides templates and sample interview forms that can be adapted for different local contexts. The chapter “Mobilize support” details how to identify stakeholders, organize a working group, and define the key issues, and “Understand the local situation” describes tools and strategies for compiling, analyzing, and presenting information about the local antibiotic resistance situation. An older version is available in Spanish and French.
Community Toolbox, chapter 7: Encouraging Involvement in Community Work Guidance. The Community Toolbox aims to offer people engaged in local and community work a depository of tools and advice for building healthier communities. Chapter 7 for example covers: The importance to involve all people affected by the problem (section 7) and Identifying and analyzing stakeholders (section 8).
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. Pigs, poultry and cattle

Plan, implement and evaluate

Resource Description
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.
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
EIP-AGRI Focus Group on Reducing antibiotics in pig farming: Final report Report from a focus group launched by the European Commission that 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. Summary available in Spanish. Pigs
Community Toolbox, chapter 6, section 1: Developing a plan for communication Manual for how to develop a communication plan for good, consistent, clear communications both internally and externally.

More from "Food animals"

Australian Veterinary Association - AVA. Guidelines for Veterinary Personal Biosecurity [Internet]. Australian Veterinary Association; Available from:
World Organisation for animal health - OIE. Guidelines for Animal Disease Control [Internet]. 2014 [cited 2019 Aug 14]. Available from:
SIAPS. Building Coalitions for Containing Antimicrobial Resistance: A Guide. Submitted to the US Agency for International Development by the Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services Program. Arlington, VA: Management Sciences for Health. [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2018 Mar 14]. Available from:
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:
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations - FAO, World Organisation for animal health - OIE. Guide to good farming practices for animal production food safety - [Internet]. 2010 [cited 2016 Sep 23]. Available from:
the Veterinary Epidemiology Unit of Ghent University, Flemish Animal Health Organization. Biocheck [Internet]. [cited 2016 Aug 17]. Available from:
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:
European Innovation Partnership for Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability (EIP-AGRI), European Commission. EIP-AGRI Focus Group on Reducing antibiotics in pig farming: Final report [Internet]. 2014 [cited 2016 Aug 17]. Available from:
Animal Health Australia, Plant Health Australia. Farm Biosecurity [Internet]. [cited 2016 Aug 17]. Available from:
Work Group for Community Health and Development. Community Toolbox [Internet]. Community Toolbox. 2014 [cited 2014 Oct 14]. Available from: