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Press Releases

March 7, 2019
State Veterinarian Encourages Farmers to Practice Biosecurity
Preventing the Entry of Foreign Animal Diseases Such as African Swine Fever into Virginia is Key to Healthy Livestock
Contact: Elaine Lidholm, 804.786.7686

“Right now, African Swine Fever and other foreign animal diseases are just specters on the international horizon. They sound scary but are not present in Virginia or other U.S. states,” says State Veterinarian Dr. Charlie Broaddus. “It is our job at the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), along with our partners at the USDA, to keep it that way,” he adds. “The best way to do that is to prevent their entry into the country, and that prevention hinges on one word: biosecurity.”

Biosecurity is a practice designed to prevent the introduction and transmission of diseases and disease-causing agents into a location with susceptible species. Procedures that are typically associated with a biosecurity plan include barn and transportation sanitation, rodent control, worker and visitor entry policies, and other general farm security measures. If a disease is already present in one or more segments of a herd, biosecurity can help prevent that disease from spreading. However, all biosecurity measures should focus on the prevention of the entry of disease.

"Virginia farmers, especially poultry and pork producers, know all about biosecurity,” Broaddus says, “but we can’t emphasize it enough when other countries in Asia and Europe are fighting African Swine Fever, Foot and Mouth Disease and other highly-contagious animal diseases.”

Broaddus encourages farmers to go to websites like www.pork.org/food-safety or www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis and search for information on specific animal diseases. These sites will have information on what farmers and consumers need to know, details about each disease, its effect or lack of effect on humans and the food supply, biosecurity and many other important topics. Farmers with questions also may call VDACS Office of Veterinary Services at 804.786.2483 with questions.


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