The Biosecurity War: Identify and Measure Risk

( National Pork Board and the Pork Checkoff )

When it comes to biosecurity, Gustavo Silva, DVM, likens it to war. In order to fight off the enemy, in this case swine diseases, farms need to identify and measure biosecurity risks.

“Not all risks can be eliminated, but they can be identified and measured. Reducing the frequency of risk events helps to reduce risks,” Silva said at the 2019 Carthage Swine Health and Production Conference in Macomb, Ill. 

Biosecurity is a daily obligation, he added. He encourages farms to consider biosecurity from both an external and internal standpoint. 

“Pathogens are not capable of locomotion and must be carried by something else,” he said. 

The Biosecurity Vulnerability Score (BVS) developed by Silva and his research team at Iowa State University incorporated surveys from Iowa State University’s PRRS Outbreak Investigation Program. The risk score considers all risk events that occur on swine breeding herds and their frequency relating to the following categories:

1.    Swine movements
2.    Pick up/deliveries
3.    People movement
4.    Pork food product entry
5.    Manure removal
6.    Entry of other animals
7.    Entry of air/water

The results show that farms with higher BVS scores have broken more frequently with PRRS, adding validity to the scoring system, Silva said. It consistently showed that farms with higher scores have a higher frequency of PRRS outbreaks. Farms that had never had an outbreak investigation before had a significantly lower BVS score when compared to farms that had two or more outbreaks.

Decrease your risk
Silva said layering is one way to decrease your farm’s BVS score. An example of layering relating to entering the farm might be wearing boots, then adding foot covers, stepping on a disinfection mat, using a bench system, removing clothes and showering in and wear different farm clothes and boots. This process of adding multiple layers is a good way to decrease risk, he says. 

“Our job is to be aware of what’s going on in the farm and work to minimize the opportunities,” he said.

More from Farm Journal's PORK:

Tackling Agro-Terrorism

Biosecurity: Be On Your Guard

Biosecurity: Facing The Invisible Enemies

Transportation Biosecurity: Control What You Can