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Biosecurity is the protection of agricultural animals from any type of infectious agent -- viral, bacterial, fungal, or parasitic. People can spread diseases as they move within a facility and from one facility to another. Animals or equipment introduced into a facility can bring pathogens with them. Among the many biosecurity procedures that can prevent these types of disease transmission are such measures as use of protective clothing, waiting periods for new animals and visitors, and cleaning.
Special emergency procedures may apply in serious outbreaks of animal diseases. In such cases, EPA coordinates activities with USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and local emergency control authorities. In those instances, more stringent protocols may override general biosecurity procedures.
The following people need to be aware of biosecurity procedures:
- livestock and poultry industry event planners
- livestock and poultry producers
- animal industry workers
- animal health officials
- food processors
- foreign travelers, and local hosts expecting foreign visitors.
Some general types of biosecurity procedures include:
- establishing quarantine periods for new animals being introduced into a group or facility
- washing and disinfecting crates or other equipment entering the facility
- allowing only essential personnel to enter animal buildings,
- providing protective clothing and footwear for service personnel and other visitors who must enter the facility
- securing buildings to keep out all undesirable animals, both wild and domestic
- maintaining high standards of sanitation in animal housing areas
- identifying and segregating sick animals, including adequate removal
and disposal of dead animals.
Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) - poultry farmers in the U.S. are watching the spread of avian influenza in Asia and Europe. Avian influenza, which is sometimes called bird flu, is an infection that occurs naturally in birds. It is caused by influenza (flu) viruses. The viruses are found chiefly in birds.
Avian Flu Frequent Questions - a list of frequently asked questions on avian flu, disposal of carcasses, and avian flu disinfectants.
Related publications from the Ag Center
Ag Sector Profiles (Sector Notebooks)
Routine Biosecurity Procedures for EPA Personnel Visiting Farms, Ranches, Slaughterhouses and other Facilities with Livestock and Poultry (PDF) (6 pp, 38K)
More information from EPA
National Homeland Security Research Center
The National Homeland Security Research Center (NHSRC) develops and delivers reliable, responsive expertise and products based on scientific research and evaluations of technology. Our expertise and products are widely used to prevent, prepare for, and recover from public health and environmental emergencies arising from terrorist threats and incidents.
More information from USDA
USDA Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) Information and Resources
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
APHIS BSE Information
APHIS Animal Health
Centers for Epidemiology and Animal Health (CEAH)
National Center for Animal Health Surveillance (NCAHS)
National Center for Animal Health Emergency Management: Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) Carcass Disposal Options
National Center for Import and Export
Foot-and-Mouth Disease information (PDF) (2 pp, 39K)
APHIS Foot-and-Mouth Disease hotline (800) 601-9327
APHIS Emergency Operations Center (800) 940-6524
More information from universities
Kansas State University - Carcass Disposal: A Comprehensive Review - Provides a comprehensive summary of the scientific, technical, and social aspects of various carcass disposal technologies.
Cornell Lab of Ornithology - Bird Flu - Information on bird flu in wild birds, poultry, and humans and links to other sites on bird flu.
More information from other organizations
2006 National Carcass Disposal Symposium Presentations - A list of presenters and presentations from the 2006 National Carcass Disposal Symposium. The symposium was hosted by the Maine Compost School.
2009 International Carcass Disposal Symposium - Proceedings from the July 2009 symposium: Three days of plenary, breakout, and poster sessions for researchers, policy makers, and regulators on carcass disposal technology, planning, and policy.