A veterinary doctor, Dr John Babalola, on Friday advised farmers on strict adherence to bio-security practices to prevent frequent disease outbreaks.
Babalola, the Chief Executive Officer of ESB Veterinary and Livestock Services, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
He said that the preservation of livestock farms from disease outbreaks was centred on adherence to bio-security measures.
“Bio-security is the major preventive measure to ensure a disease free farm. We must activate strict bio-security to preserve livestock farms.
“The first bio-security measure to be taken is to ensure that the farm has a fence.
“The essence of a fence is to reduce or even contain any inflow or outflow of unauthorised person in and out of the farm.
“This is because humans and even animals are likely vehicles for the transmission of viruses in the farm,” Babalola said.
He said some viruses that could cause disease outbreaks in farms are carried by humans in their clothes, shoes and even airborne.
“Farms are resistant to heat and if a person enters a farm carelessly and unknowingly, it might bring disease to such farm,” Babalola said.
He called for improved hygiene on the farms starting from the farm hands to visitors.
According to Babalola, to step up bio-security measures in livestock farms, the farmer must ensure that there is a foot dip at the entrance of the farms.
“This should be a place where the floor is cemented and a mixture of water and disinfectant and anti-viral substances should be situated for a foot wash before accessing the farm.
“This water should also be changed daily to prevent disease spread. If the inflow of traffic is much in a farm, the foot dip should be changed as much as five times daily.
“The essence of this is to reduce the transmission of disease outbreaks from farm to farm,” he said.
The expert also advised that unauthorised persons should not be allowed to enter the farms.
“Only authorised farm hands should be allowed to tend the animals. Also each farm hand should be allocated to a particular section of farm per time, without interchanging places.
“Lockers should also be provided for farm hands to keep their personal effects because they may harbour hidden bacteria.
“If a farmer adheres to strict bio-security measures as suggested, the incidences of disease outbreaks on his farm will be limited or none at all,” he said.
Babalola said that different farm hands should tend to the mature animals away from the younger animals because the latter had a low-immune and disease -resistant system.
“The farm management should also be very cautious with whatever drugs or vaccines administered to the animals.
“Vaccines and drugs not recommended by the veterinary council or NAFDAC must not be used on farm animals,” he said.