For the farm owner or manager, biosecurity risk is about who the visitor is. Ohio State University Extension’s factsheet On-Farm Biosecurity: Traffic Control and Sanitation by Extension veterinarians, Drs. Gary Bowman and William Shulaw breaks visitor risk into three basic classifications: High, Medium and Low risk.
- Low risk visitors, would include those who in general have little or no contact with livestock and as such, present very little risk of transferring diseases to the farm.
- Medium risk visitors include those who routinely visit farms but have little or no contact with animals. People such as salesmen, delivery people and mechanical contractors.
- High risk visitors would include veterinarians, livestock haulers, livestock-owning neighbors or employees, and anyone else who has close contact with animals and their bodily discharges.
Farm entry precautions therefore, could be on an increasing scale, beginning with low risk visitors and growing as the potential risk grows. In other words, because the high risk visitors represent a greater threat to the farm business, their entry precautions and biosecurity protocols should be much more stringent than the low risk visitor. For example, Drs. Bowman and Shulaw suggest the precautions low risk visitors should include:
- Ask visitors to wear freshly laundered outerwear and clean shoes or boots. You should provide disposable plastic boots and coveralls as an added precaution.
- Do not rely heavily on disinfectant footbaths. They are unreliable unless boots are thoroughly scrubbed before immersion. And the disinfectant properties are only valid if the boots are in the disinfectant for adequate contact time. Contact time required varies by product.
- Do not allow visitors to enter pens or feeding areas or to contact animals, if possible.
- Do not allow visitors to bring food with them.
- When visitors leave, provide a plastic bag for disposable items and ask them to wash their hands before leaving.
The medium risk visitor’s greater contact with off farm livestock creates a greater potential risk of disease transfer to the farm. Drs. Bowman and Shulaw indicate that the precautions for medium risk visitors should begin with those of the low risk visitor and also include:
- Wear clean or disposable coveralls and boots if there is any contact with feed, animals, soil, or manure.
- Equipment should be cleaned and disinfected before coming to the farm and before leaving if there is any contact with feed, animals, soil, or manure.
- Dirty boots should be THOROUGHLY cleaned and disinfected, and coveralls should be removed and placed in a plastic bag or other container before the visitors reenter the vehicle to prevent the transfer of pathogens to other farms.