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Disease Protocols for Animals and People

by 5m Editor
18 July 2008, at 9:22a.m.

CANADA - Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA) has developed new biosecurity protocols to assist veterinarians and farmers to prevent and manage disease outbreaks.

The new measures are specifically designed for large animal veterinarians in general practice and their livestock farm clients. They will complement existing biosecurity protocols in veterinary medicine, government, agriculture and the food industry.


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"The implementation of proper biosecurity protocols by farmers and veterinarians greatly reduces the risk of spreading zoonotic diseases"
Dr Paul Innes, Lead Veterinarian for Provincial Biosecurity with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Dr Paul Innes, Lead Veterinarian for Provincial Biosecurity with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, is a strong proponent of the use of biosecurity protocols in reducing the risk of disease outbreaks and containing them if they occur. “The implementation of proper biosecurity protocols by farmers and veterinarians greatly reduces the risk of spreading zoonotic diseases, which are the ones that can also make people sick. The potentially deadly H5N1 strain of avian influenza, or bird flu, is a glaring example of why biosecurity is so important,” said Dr Innes.

One of the main objectives of the initiative is to ensure that veterinarians are part of the solution and not part of the problem. In human medicine, doctors, nurses and other healthcare practitioners can unintentionally spread disease from one patient to another. Similarly, veterinarians can spread disease from one farm to another if effective biosecurity protocols are not in place.

Veterinarians play a vital role in the control of infectious animal disease. According to Dr Innes, “This initiative will better equip veterinarians to prevent and respond to animal health emergencies, because it builds upon the considerable amount of work that has already been done to protect animals and humans.”

Through extensive research, planning and consultation, this project has resulted in the development of important biosecurity tools for both veterinarians and livestock farmers. The program includes an 'On-farm Biosecurity Risk Assessment Tool', which enables veterinarians to assess their clients’ biosecurity risks and identify areas for improvement. The Tool and other disease-control resources will be used as a basis for the veterinary biosecurity pilot program that will be initiated in the next phase of the project.

Funding for the initiative has been provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. The initiative is being managed by the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association and was launched in November 2007.

5m Editor