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General Guidelines on Biosecurity will Help in Preventing Ingress of Diseases in the Poultry Farms

21 September 2015

INDIA - Official guidelines have been released prescribing biosecurity practice on poultry units.

The Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fisheries (DADF) has released “General Guidelines for Biosecurity at Central Poultry Development Organization” with the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare. 

The Department from time to time reviews the biosecurity situation in their subordinate Organizations viz. Central Poultry Development Organizations (CPDOs). The last biosecurity guidelines were issued in 2013. It was decided to revisit the biosecurity guidelines in light of latest developments and to incorporate some practices in vogue to make them more effective. Keeping this in mind, the General Guidelines for Biosecurity at Central Poultry Development Organizations were revised so that the basic tenets can be applied not only to CPDOs but also State and Private Poultry Farms.

Poultry farms across the country need to maintain the basic sanitary conditions essential for healthy birds and hygienic products. An integrated biosecurity programme is an application on logical and sound principles specific to an enterprise, monitoring of disease status, evaluation of ongoing poultry farm operations on continuous basis with an objective to contain the diseases at bare minimum level. Some poultry diseases like Avian Influenza are zoonotic in nature, i.e. they may be transmitted to humans, and potentially poses serious public health risks.

The farms should strive to maximize the benefits achievable through effective biosecurity and to be consistent with HACCP (Hazard Analysis, Critical Control Points) principles which can be developed easily. For this, the Central Poultry Development Organization & Training Institute (Southern Region), Hessarghatta would design training modules and hold workshops based on demand from the States.

After lessons from Avian Influenza and other poultry disease outbreaks across the country both in public and private farms, we must implement, as far as possible, a biosecurity plan to prevent any future disasters. These guidelines are proposed to act as roadmap for keeping a close vigil and maintenance of biosecurity and have been attempted to cover the conceptual, structural and operational biosecurity through advisories on the farm location and design, restricted access to birds, traffic control, isolation and quarantine of new birds, cleaning and sanitation, personnel hygiene, hygienic disposal of poultry manure, disposal of dead birds and other bio/ biomedical wastes, feed safety, period of rest or rearing of single age group, medication/ vaccination of birds, flock profiling, collection of infective / suspected material for laboratory testing etc.

The major routes for disease and pathogen transmission are briefly enumerated. Emphasis is given on feed safety and water management, which were earlier not described in detail in the previous guidelines. It is also suggested therein, to refer the Action Plan on Avian Influenza (revised in March, 2015), compartmentalization checklist, the Prevention and control of Infections and Bio-Medical Waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 1998 under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 etc., Disposal of dead bird(s) in a bio-secured manner, and compliance to the Prevention and Control of Infectious and Contagious Diseases in Animals Act, 2009. It is urged that the concerned personnel should be well versed of these and apply the biosecurity measures in consonance, so that all relevant points are covered.

It is also suggested that if there is any mortality reported in wild bird / water birds / crows, etc. in farm campus the post mortem of such birds should be avoided in farm area. The Department and the Regional / State / District Disease Diagnostic Labs should be informed immediately and they may be requested to collect the samples as per their protocol for diagnosis [or for onward transmission to National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD), Bhopal in case of Avian Influenza] for diagnosis, as per the requirement to be decided by the competent authority. If Avian Influenza or Notified disease is suspected or confirmed at any farm demobilize the staff of the farm with immediate effect.

It is also suggested to immediately stop sale-purchase / inflow-outflow of all poultry products, feed or feed ingredients, etc. if disease is even suspected or diagnosed in any shed or farm till final test results of disease diagnosis is done and regarding Notified diseases / Avian Influenza after confirmation from designated / NIHSAD Bhopal.

An indicative quick checklist for implementing an effective poultry biosecurity plan is also given mentioning about securing perimeter by keeping “restricted” signs posted at drive entrances, avoiding trees or dense foliage around sheds and prevent roosting site for wild birds, restrict entry to essential personnel and record entry, keeping poultry houses locked, providing boots and coveralls for staff and visitors for each shed, personnel precautions like changing by staff into dedicated/disposable boots and coveralls upon entering each different shed. Other relevant pointers are also mentioned like removing poultry mortality daily, storing or disposing them off by an approved method; create awareness about the dangers of raising or visiting other avian species and their contact with their flock. Pointers on monitoring of vehicles, taking appropriate precautions such as disinfection, implementing a strong control program for insect, mammalian and avian vectors are also given. It is also reminded to recheck and review biosecurity plan and flock health program, including vaccination protocols, with veterinarian on a regular basis.

It is also added that biosecurity on poultry farms is an essential tool for ensuring welfare of poultry and humans by preventing transmission of poultry-related zoonotic and food-borne pathogens. Method of collection of infective/ suspected material for laboratory testing is added as it is mostly seen that the samples sent to laboratories are not proper and testing/ diagnosis is either not possible or leads to incorrect results. Some tables in the appendices are added for easy reference and monitoring of visitors’ movement, water quality and formats for overall supervision and internal auditing of biosecurity on-farm.

Thus it is believed that this lucid General Guidelines on biosecurity will help prevent ingress of diseases in the poultry farms. If all poultry farms across the country, both public and private follow the basic tenets listed in true spirit it will help in a disease-free, safe and wholesome poultry production. 

Click for Guidelines in English

Click for Guidelines in Hindi

Top image via Shutterstock

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