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Extension > Agriculture > Poultry production and health > Biosecurity > Rethink biosecurity

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Rethink biosecurity

Sally Noll and Carol Cardona

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in Minnesota and the Midwest brought terrible losses to commercial poultry farms in 2015 and 2016. HPAI represents a change in what avian producers had come to expect, given that spring introductions of avian influenza are generally rare. While experts continue to research how the introduction and spread of HPAI occurs, biosecurity is key to preventing or lessening the extent of possible introduction of the virus.

The foundational blocks of biosecurity are:

Identified risks are usually associated with virus contaminated people, equipment or wild bird contact – direct or indirect. With introductions into single barns on multi-barn sites, the emphasis on biosecurity needs to focus on the barn. A line of separation is needed around each barn in addition to the area of separation for the farm unit. One should always assume that the area surrounding the barn is contaminated and avoid bringing outside contamination inside the barn. One of the most basic aspects of barn level biosecurity is secure entry of people and equipment to the barn.

exterior of poultry barn

Disinfecting hands and exposed skin on arms is necessary upon entry AND exit of a barn.

Did you know?

A survey of poultry farms by Racicot and co-workers, 2011, 2012 using video and audits to track compliance revealed:

  1. Few facilities were found to have barn entry protocols posted
  2. Farm personnel barn entry protocols were not as rigorous as protocols for visitors
  3. While most farms utilized some inside/outside separation at the barn entry level such as footwear change and/or use of disposable boots, few took additional precautions such as washing hands and changing to barn specific clothing
  4. Entry protocols tended to be followed less closely for short visits
  5. Protocol entry compliance was influenced by designation of dirty and clean areas at the entry. Compliance was less if there was not a physical separation of the clean and dirty areas
  6. Some unidentified individuals were video-taped in the barns
  7. A majority of biosecurity errors involved cross-contamination of areas designated as clean (barn) and contaminated (outside) at the time of entry

The swine industry has moved to an entry system called the Danish Entry to overcome challenges with PRRS and PEDv. The keys to the Danish entry system are:

Do any of these biosecurity breaks sound familiar to you?

Avoiding Biosecurity Errors – Barn Entry

exterior of poultry barn

Barn entry protocols for farm personnel need to be as rigorous as those for visitors, including change of footwear/disposable boots and wearing barn specific clothing.

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