The Basics of Biosecurity

Why Biosecurity is Needed

Infectious diseases are a threat to all producers. They cause:

Increased animal illness and death or premature culling
Reduced reproductive performance
Dairy, egg
Decreased production of meat, dairy, eggs, and wool
Increased disease control costs

Watch these video clips to learn more about animal diseases that threaten the U.S. agricultural industry.

1:44 minute clip from video about brucellosis:

Experts Worry about Brucellosis Return

The near eradication of brucellosis, a costly bacterial disease that affected a large number of U.S. cattle herds in the early part of the last century, is one of the nation’s major livestock- and public-health triumphs.

Ryan Clarke, Veterinary Services, USDA: “It was very prevalent in 1934, when our brucellosis program began, when they figure maybe 50 percent of the herds were infected. The program began and they started testing for and removing those animals that were infected. By 1957, they reckoned about 13 percent of the herds were infected in the United States, like 234,000 herds. Then in the early ‘40s, they did develop the vaccine… In 2008, for the first time, there were no infected herds in the United States.”

Experts worry, however, that infected wildlife – particularly elk and bison in the Yellowstone National Park area – are slowly reversing some of that progress in cattle. The disease can cause cows to abort their calves and have milk production fall dramatically.

There is additional concern another strain of brucella bacteria that particularly affects hogs is being spread by wild boar in the southern United States.

Ryan Clarke, Veterinary Services, USDA: “Now, since 2008, of course, we’ve had a number of herds that have been infected, but they were infected by wildlife…. Back in the ‘30s, it was people buying cattle that were infected and those cattle infected their cattle. Now, that’s all gone. …but now it’s …wildlife coming into farms and ranches and aborting and passing the disease that way.”

1:08 minute clip from video about African swine fever:

Pork industry wary of African swine fever (ASF)

The American pork industry is on heightened alert for signs of a notorious pork disease.

The recent announcement that African Swine Fever has been discovered in both the Dominican Republic and Haiti has raised concerns that the pig disease could find its way to the United States.

Dr. Patrick Webb, Director of Swine Health Programs, National Pork Board: “So ASF, classical swine fever, African swine fever, and foot and mouth disease, all can be transmitted through product that’s contaminated with the virus. And so the way that we’ve seen it spread to the majority of countries has been through the feeding of garbage with meat containing plate waste that’s got the virus in it.”

While the virus cannot spread to humans, it has a 100 percent mortality rate in hogs. Both the USDA and Customs officials have increased inspections of both pork entering the United States and travel checks of people entering the country from ASF hotspots.

The habits of human handlers will mitigate the spread of the virus to new populations of pigs.

Dr. Patrick Webb, Director of Swine Health Programs, National Pork Board: “and then the way it spreads is through bad biosecurity decisions. It’s really a human spread issue.

1:21 minute clip from video about avian influenza:

Avian influenza expands its reach

This week, the number of cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza accelerated in commercial flocks, impacting several Midwestern states.

Commercial poultry operations in Indiana have been particularly hard hit. In Dubois county, the Hoosier State’s number one turkey producing county, four different operations have had positive bird flu cases.

So far, over 170,000 birds have been euthanized to help control the spread of the disease.

Denise Derrer Spears, Public Information director, Indiana State Board of Animal Health: “The farmers are watching their birds more closely so that they’re picking up even on the slightest signs of any kind of illness, they’re getting testing done very quickly. Um, our lab is more prepared than ever. And so we’ve been able to move things along very fast.”

Nationally, bird flu has shown up in more than a dozen states, primarily the East Coast and Midwest. Agricultural officials across the country report over seven million commercial chickens and turkeys have been culled this year due to Avian Influenza.

In the Spring 2015, an outbreak of H5N1 resulted in the slaughter of nearly 50 million birds over the course of three months. Damage to the poultry industry was estimated at over $3 billion dollars.For Market to Market, I’m John Torpy.