Biosecurity and disease control in poultry

Biosecurity refers to techniques used to prevent spread of infections and other causative organisms in poultry flocks. Disease prevention is major mechanism through which we control production losses from disease process.

Biosecurity and disease control in poultryDiseases in poultry reduce livability and production by diverting energy used for production, by altering the increase in cost of labor, medications and vaccination.

Diversity in poultry house management increases the disease prevention challenge. Diseases like Salmonella, Avian influenza and Newcastle have devastating impact on production not only to company of origin but also the entire poultry industry.

Development of biosecurity plan is the major element by understanding the Microbiology and Epidemiology of infectious diseases. These plans should be clear, practical and easily adoptable. Any break in the biosecurity plan will leads to exposure of susceptible birds to infectious organisms.

Biosecurity plans are structured for what purpose they are use that might contain size of flock, facilities, management system and ability to demonstrate these principles to employees. Three major components of biosecurity are

1) Conceptual Biosecurity: it allows the assessment of plan about the poultry housing location, facilities to road, hatchery, wind movement and feed mill.

2) Structural Biosecurity: it deals with the fixed cost elements like changing employees space, fencing, sanitation system, showers and removal of dead carcass in order to reduce infectious agents.

3) Operational Biosecurity: it allows the routine practices to reduce infectious diseases by implementation of insecticides, cleaning and disinfection of equipment’s, litter, water and feed management.

A basic biosecurity plan should include following steps to control outbreak of disease and reduce economical losses.

1)  An employee on farm declared as biosecurity plan coordinator.

2) Logged information to plan coordinator which helps employee about some points.

3)  A physical line should be developed to separate dirty (non-poultry) and clean (poultry) area. All the workers and equipment before entering the clean area become sanitized.

4) Differentiate between hot and cold areas of farm in order to reduce chances of disease by people or vehicles.

5) Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must have access to workers to protect them by brining disease through cloth and shoes in the production area.

6) Block the entry of rodents, insects and even wild animals and birds by proper plan.

7) Equipment shared between production and farm area should be sanitized properly.

8) Proper handling of dead birds in normal and fatal conditions in order to prevent break down of biosecurity plan.

9) Management of old litter and manure to ensure disease is not spread.

10) Disinfection step between the breeder farm and production area during replacement of new stock.

11) Monitoring of water.

12) Ensure that the new litter and feed is provided to reduce the chances of infection.

Auditing should be done to measures the accuracy of biosecurity program annually. This can be achieved by comparing the outbreak of disease from previous year and by an annual risk assessments. Farm biosecurity risk can be reduced by implementing the plan properly.

We must generate numbers showing biosecurity risk which can be changed by local disease situation. Now a days farmer should explained properly about risk assessment. It is also necessary that the farmer or site manager must be familiar with the surroundings.

Poor quality of floor and entry of non related persons at farm , farmer unable to achieve bisosecurity standards. European countries always look for both external and internal biosecurity procedures.

In external procedures it includes purchasing of day old chicks, farm entrance, used litter, feed and water, farm location and in internal procedures it includes disease management, cleaning and disinfections. Standards parameters should be adopted to look at average age & weight, mortality rates and feed conversion ratio.

There is correlation between first week mortality due to biosecurity issues and overall mortality because E.coli infection is always related with poor floor management.

Broiler farms having tunnel or roof ventilation have high mortality rates during first week. Birds captured on arrival with red light have high mortality rate as compared to captured in blue or dimmed light. Mostly birds died during transportation in hot weathers.

Nuclear and other molecular procedures helping to control disease globally. The international Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) stated that these tools are helpful for early diagnosis of diseases and to prevent spread of disease. IAEA is currently working with FAO to developed and implement nuclear techniques for good birds health management practices.

IAEA highlights the serological test monitoring ELISA to measures accuracy of vaccine. Through this technology they able to achieve eradication of rinderpest (RP). Further work on Avian influenza is working. Nuclear techniques are easy to use, accurate , cheap, specific and have advantage over others methods.

Need of hours is to support veterinary authorities, extension services and knowledge to farmers about disease management and control programs. Properly follow vaccination schedule. Vaccine should be of good quality. In some cases we use autogenic vaccines to prevent from chronic infection like IBH.

Farm manager should present in shed during vaccine for proper vaccine. Temperature , ventilation and feed should be controlled during vaccination. In disease control management , temperature is best tool to control disease. Poor management leads to less production, so always audit always things to implement good biosecurity plan.

Authors: Dr. Sohaib Noor*1, Dr. Faisal Saleem1

* Corresponding Author:,

  1. Department of Pathology, University of Agriculture Faisalabad
  2. Department of Parasitology, University of Agriculture Faisalabad

Leave a Reply