Biosecurity has been identified as a major preventive measure to reduce the risk of disease transmission in animals.
This was the conclusion at the presentation on the ‘Role of Biosecurity in the Prevention of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) and Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in Nigeria’.
Biosecurity is a practice designed to prevent the introduction and spread of disease-causing agents (viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa and parasites) into a farm.
Olaniran Alabi, the Chief Veterinarian of Nigeria, on Wednesday, at the presentation in Abuja, said biosecurity is an effective tool to reduce animal antibiotic consumption.
This is because if poultry are not infected, the need for antibiotics use is reduced.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the ability of microbes to persist or grow in the presence of drugs designed to inhibit them.
A report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said that everyone has a role to play to combat AMR, including others across the food and agriculture sectors. It rolled out recommendations to curb the spread of AMR.
“Currently, at least 700,000 people die each year due to drug-resistant diseases.
“More and more common diseases, including respiratory tract infections, sexually transmitted infections and urinary tract infections, are becoming harder to treat.
“Drug resistance is also increasingly threatening our agri-food systems and global food security,” the report said.
“Biodiversity is the foundation for disease prevention as it uses the knowledge of disease transmission processes to reduce the risk of introduction and spread of disease pathogens,” Mr Alabi said.
He said micro-organisms get less opportunity to develop resistance and that antimicrobials remain effective when needed to control disease.
“Biosecurity is all the more important in antibiotic reduction scenarios: consistently high biosecurity standards can contribute substantially to the reduction of antimicrobial resistance, by lowering the need for antimicrobials and preventing the introduction of resistance genes to the farm.
“In the absence of any treatment for Al and unreliability of vaccination program, promotion of effective biosecurity measures remains the most viable option for prevention and control of Al without undue exposure of the poultry industry and public health to the devastating consequences of AMR.
“All farmers and animal owners are enjoined to build a healthy relationship with veterinary doctors in order to ensure that they are involved in preventing diseases on farm as well as treating outbreaks.
“Your veterinary practitioner is best placed to devise a biosecurity plan suited to your farm, which should be reviewed annually.
“Poultry farmers and live bird market operators should be trained on the use of biosecurity to prevent the introduction and spread of HPAI and other diseases.”
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