The high risk visitor group includes some of the most important management consultants and technicians who regularly visit the farm. They also represent a much higher risk of contamination. Consequently, the high risk visitor has the greatest responsibility for reducing or deflecting the risks associated with their visits. The Ohio State University Extension Factsheet specifies that the precautions for high risk visitors begin with those used by the low and medium risk groups and should also include:
- Vehicles should be clean and free of visible manure on tires and wheel wells. Livestock trucks and trailers should be cleaned and disinfected prior to arriving at the farm.
- Visitors should arrive with clean clothing, boots and equipment. Equipment and instruments that have direct animal contact should be cleaned and disinfected before and after visiting the farm.
- Disposable sleeves and gloves and other disposable or disinfectable clothing should be worn whenever there is direct contact with animal discharges or tissues.
- Clean and disinfect dirty equipment and footwear with an appropriate disinfectant before leaving the farm. To prevent contaminating transport vehicles, soiled coveralls should be removed and bagged before people reenter the vehicle. Hands and forearms should be washed with antibacterial soap
- Farm employees who have livestock at their own home should report to work clean and in clean clothes that have not been exposed to their own livestock. They could provide their own clean coveralls.
(Note that in several instances Drs. Bowman and Shulaw point to the use of disinfectants. More information on the cleaning and disinfection and the selection of disinfectants can be found in the Michigan State University Extension Bulletin: Biosecurity Guide for Livestock Farm Visits (E-2842) by Dr. Daniel Grooms D.V.M.)
In addition to the others already mentioned, there are two precautions that should be exercised for all visitors to livestock farms. First, all visitors should be screened prior to entry to determine if they have visited another country with the last 7 days. This precaution is part of a visitor’s policy to exclude people who have recently visited countries outside the U.S. where foreign animal diseases such as Foot and Mouth Disease are present.
The second precaution is the companion piece to the visitor’s policy, the visitor’s log. Every person who visits a farm should be required to “sign in” to indicate that they were present on the farm that day. The visitor’s log is intended to provide the farm owner a record, should it be needed, of farm visitors for forensic use if there is ever a large scale animal disease outbreak. It is also useful in determining the numbers of visitors and the basis of risk they represent. The log points to the human links between farms during a disease outbreak and can play a role in determining how long a farm is quarantined.
Biosecurity precautions on livestock operations can play a significant role in the health and wellbeing of both the farm animals and the farm business. Their use on farms will have long term impacts. More information on farm gate biosecurity can be found at the website of Michigan’s Biosecurity Stop Sign Campaign.
Source: Dean Ross, Theodor Ferris, Daniel Grooms, Michigan State University Extension, Department of Animal Science, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences