BIOSECURITY KEEPING YOUR ANIMALS SAFE FROM FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE
What is Foot and Mouth Disease? A very infectious disease caused by a virus.
It affects all cloven-hoofed animals and also hedgehogs and rats to some extent.
Horses and humans are not affected but both can spread it
How is it Spread? -The disease is mainly spread by direct contact from animal to animal.
It is carried by people on clothing or in their throats, where it can survive for 72 hours.
Vehicles and farm machinery can spread the disease.
Wind borne spread is possible but in the current outbreak only over short distances (200 m).
How can you protect your animals from Foot and Mouth Disease?
1.Farm personnel Wear clothing restricted to use on the farm.
Change before leaving or entering the farm.
2.Farm Visitors -Only absolutely essential visitors .
Pay particular attention to anyone who attends other livestock.
Use one entrance to the farm only.
Keep disinfection facilities at this entrance.
Display No Entry notices. with phone numbers for unscheduled visitors.
Keep a bucket of water and a brush for cleaning footwear before disinfection.
Make sure foot dips are kept clean and renewed at least daily.
Where possible make sure vehicles are left outside the property.
3. Essential visitors especially the vet - Anyone who travels from farm to farm poses a particular threat. Ensure
- That any visitor has not knowingly been on a potentially infected holding for at least 72 hours
- That they wear fully sterile clothing - boiler suit, Wellingtons, hat and disposable gloves to be put on outside the farm entrance
- Ask the visitor to avoid breathing directly onto an animal or otherwise to wear a mask.
- Handle the animals yourself if possible try not to let the visitor handle your stock
4.Essential Collections and Deliveries - Do not allow dirty vehicles onto your farm
Supervise disinfection outside the farm entrance.
5. Milk tankers are a particular threat , virus from infected milk can be expelled from the tanker during collection.
Strict guidelines were issued to Tanker companies at the beginning of the outbreak
It is very likely that some companies and drivers have become lax in their observance of these procedures.
If you feel that the milk tanker collecting from you has not been properly cleaned and disinfected, or that it does not have a properly functioning filter in place. Do Not allow it into your premises until the company complies with the guidelines to your satisfaction. Contact DEFRA and tell them of your concern.
It is possible to claim compensation if your milk has to be disposed of rather than collected..
6. Contractors If the use of contractors is essential ensure disinfection and cleanliness of all vehicles.
Avoid grazing fields where contractors vehicles have been, for as long as possible.
7. Your animals Try to avoid direct contact between your animals and those of your neighbours.
Keeping a fields distance is ideal but the use of an electric fence inside the boundary could be considered.
Treatments and remedies
Over the years, various treatments and preventative remedies have been tried, with varying degrees of reported success, the most widely known of which is the homeopathic use of Borax, which is readily available, added to the drinking water. The use of cut up onions in buildings has been used as a preventative but dont forget that these can taint milk!
However, it must be remembered that it is illegal to attempt to treat a notifiable disease and also that some so-called remedies such as mouth washes and fogging could have serious welfare implications.
There is a section on bio-security on the DEFRA website at the following address: