Infectious diseases in animals are caused by infectious agents: viruses, bacteria, prions or fungi, which not only pose a threat to animal health, but can endanger human health and are always the cause of major economic losses.
Poland is recognised as free of a number of infectious animal diseases (e.g. tuberculosis, brucellosis and enzootic bovine leukosis, foot-and-mouth disease, etc.), but the threat of e.g. highly pathogenic avian influenza (the so-called bird flu) or ASF still exists. Currently, a major threat to pig production in Europe is the rapidly spreading African swine fever (ASF). Of course, there are many more infectious disease threats. At the heart of animal disease control are bio-security, vaccination (immunoprophylaxis), farm organisation and management, and administrative measures implemented by the Veterinary Inspection.
What is bio-security?
In its simplest terms, bio-security is the actions and decisions to be implemented to reduce or eliminate the risk of introducing an infectious agent into a herd (different types of pathogens). Bio-security is also the control of pathways and means of spreading a pathogen in a production facility when a pathogen has already entered the facility. In this case, it is also an action related to eliminating the possibility of spreading animal diseases.
In its simplest terms, bio-security on animal farms refers to measures to protect the herd from pathogens and, in the event of disease outbreaks, to eradicate them and prevent them from spreading.
The use of bio-security applies to large-scale livestock farms as well as small family farms. However, in the case of the former, it is of great importance economically, commercially (trade in animal products) as well as in terms of health, due to the risk of mass disease.
The key to successful bio-security is for producers and growers to understand the desirability of its implementation and adhere to certain principles, and for them to be committed and implement all bio-security tasks.