Biosecurity and biosafety: Veterinary laboratories and animal facilities

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The underlying principle of biosecurity is protection from harm caused by hazards of biological origin. A very broad definition given by Encarta in 2009 is “The protection of the environment, economy and health of living things from diseases, pests, and bioterrorism”. The biological hazards may be restricted to pathogenic micro-organisms or may include all possible hazards including introduction of alien plants and animals, genetically modified organisms and new molecules. In the veterinary context, four issues have been identified as important:

  • Protection of human and animal health from hazards posed by food of animal origin
  • Protection of human and animal health from hazards posed by international trade in animals and animal products
  • Protection of human and animal health by implementing an adequate level of biosecurity in veterinary laboratories and animal facilities
  • Protection of human and animal health in emergency situations involving animals, with particular emphasis on animal disease outbreaks.

Each of these issues is the topic of a module in the biosecurity suite for continuing professional development.

This module examines the measures that need to be implemented to protect animal and human health from hazards posed by the handling and storage of pathogens in veterinary laboratories.

In addition to the notes, a Power Point presentation on laboratory biosafety and biosecurity is supplied.

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Academic Year: 

Dr Mary-Louise Penrith

  • BVSc (Hons) (Pretoria), BSc (Hons) (Zoology) (Cape Town), PhD (Cape Town), DSc (Pretoria)
  • Extraordinary professor, Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa.
  • Expert consultant to the Food & Agriculture Organization of United Nations on epidemiology and control of African swine fever.
  • Director: TAD Scientific c.c.