What are the Three Components of Biosecurity?


Biosecurity is a general term that describes the range of measures available that aim to prevent the introduction and/or spread of harmful organisms such as bacteria or viruses to animal populations. Under the umbrella of biosecurity are three distinct components that are helpful to be viewed separately to ensure that each of them is addressed comprehensively, otherwise the best protection will not be provided. So, what are the three components of biosecurity? They are: Conceptual Biosecurity; Structural Biosecurity and Procedural Biosecurity.

These three components come under three guiding principles of biosecurity, which are: bio-exclusion – the prevention of outside agents from entering a farm or other facility and spreading among the animal population; bio-management – the way in which disease spread is prevented within the farm or facility including the use of vaccines; and biocontainment – procedures in place to stop the spread of disease to the outside world, once it has taken hold inside the facility. Any farm or facility looking to tighten up their biosecurity should seek the advice of experts in the field, like Livetec Systems, who’s expertise is vital when it comes to helping to ensure all components of biosecurity are watertight.

Let’s explore each of these three components, explaining what they entail and how they are important to overall biosecurity.

Conceptual Biosecurity

The crux of conceptual biosecurity, which can be seen as the very foundation of any plan, involves the location of the facilities in question as well as their different structures. In other words, this could be seen as the planning phase. The most effective tool in the armoury of any biosecurity planner is physical isolation, including the situation of any new premises. The ideal location for a farm or other animal-housing facility is:

  • Far from other farms or public roads
  • Away from slaughterhouses or live animal markets
  • Separated from other farms
  • The use of external or shared vehicles and outsourced personnel should be discouraged

Structural Biosecurity

Structural biosecurity is often seen as the secondary level of biosecurity. You have the solid layout and foundation in place and structural biosecurity involves the physical factors that must be addressed to ensure the most biosecure facility possible. This should involve the appropriate layout of the farm. Consideration should be given to such issues as separation of distinct flocks or herds, how easy buildings are to clean, the successful and comprehensive installation of perimeter fencing, adequate draining, excellent facilities for staff, including shower rooms and changing rooms – with particular attention to the location of these facilities and any other design elements. Also coming under the umbrella of structural biodiversity is the consideration of on-site navigation for delivery of feed (without risk of contamination), the movement of equipment and animals as well as feed storage in clean, risk-averse storage facilities.

Procedural Biosecurity

Dealing with two of the aforementioned guiding principles of biosecurity in bio-exclusion and biocontainment, procedural biosecurity is a vital part of any biosecurity plan, designed to prevent the introduction (bio-exclusion) and spread (biocontainment) of infection. Procedural examples include clear mandatory clothing changes, regular handwashing and showering and always disinfecting equipment at the entry point of the site. Ensuring that all visitors are completely compliant with procedure and all external vehicles are kept well away from animals also fall under this component, as does making sure any new animals are kept away from existing flocks or herds.