11 July 2020
According to a study by the UN, more than 60% of diseases affecting humans originate from animals. Illnesses which are transmitted from animals to humans are known as zoonotic diseases or zoonoses.
These transmissions occur in various ways, including contact with sick animals and/or the consumption of infected animals.
Research from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences focusing on how pigs contributed to the H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic in 2009 classified pigs as intermediate hosts for the generation of the virus.
It is therefore critical that livestock farmers – not only those in pig farming – take note of such findings. One of the qualities which make for a good farmer is the health quality of their livestock.
As a biosecurity specialist, the main objective of my line of work is to prevent new diseases from entering and spreading on a farm or production unit by applying the right management practices.
These greatly reduce the risk of zoonotic diseases getting carried over to the human population and possibly causing a pandemic as seen currently with the Covid-19 coronavirus.
What farmers cannot do is change the pathogen that exist within an environment. There are, however, various guidelines in place for farmers to use to minimise disease outbreaks for both humans and animals.
This can be done by keeping new animals away from the existing herd to help monitor and keep valuable livestock away from those with an unknown health status. A minimum quarantine period of 14 days is prescribed, but it may be longer.
It is crucial that farmers check fences regularly to ensure that they are in good condition to keep external animals out because any animal entering the farm poses a threat to livestock and may be a carrier of zoonotic diseases.
Farmers may also need to ensure that feed is bought only from registered producers. They must inspect purchased feed after delivery and look for signs of contamination.
Stored feed should be kept out of reach of livestock, mice, rats and other wild animals to prevent contamination. Farmers also need to ensure that their animals have good quality water that is suitable for livestock.
There is great need for the disinfection of farms and the use of products which cater for all your disinfection purposes, whether it be disinfection against viral, bacterial or fungal diseases.
Reach out to reputable animal health product suppliers to find products that are suitable for your farm, employees and livestock.
Lastly, ensuring that livestock is vaccinated against diseases prevalent in your area is more affordable than curing diseases.
Another thing to consider is ensuring that all staff working on the farm and animals are immunised against zoonotic diseases which present transmission risks.
Source: City Press