The Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA) stressed the need for implementing biosecurity requirements in Abu Dhabi's farms by livestock breeders, to ensure the public health in the emirate, prevent zoonotic diseases, and achieve sustainable development in the livestock sector.
ADAFSA clarified that zoonotic diseases are diseases that can be transmitted directly from animals to humans by contacting with secretions of infected animals or by eating their products. They also can be transmitted indirectly vectors such as mosquitoes, lice and rodents. The authority noted that persons who directly contact with infected animals or infectious agents are more vulnerable to zoonotic diseases.
To avoid zoonotic diseases, the authority affirmed the need to take care of animals' health, take precautionary measures while handling infected or suspect animals, sterilize tools and equipment of animals, implement biosecurity requirements, and apply food safety practices as well as washing hands properly.
Ticks are important biological vectors of some zoonotic diseases, including Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever and Nairobi sheep disease. In animals, ticks are the source of some types of blood parasites, such as theileria and babesia, as they transmit disease to animal or human through their bites.
According to the authority, ticks are recognized through features of their appearance, including the number of legs and size. They also can be identified in laboratories molecularly by performing polymerase chain reaction testing and decoding the genetic code. Moreover, ticks are combated by spraying with external antifungal drugs, cleaning and getting rid of waste and green grass, which is the breeding ground for ticks.
ADAFSA further stressed that livestock breeders have to comply with its prevention programs, such as animal vaccination program, the program dedicated to control external parasites, and quarantining and examining new animals before introducing them to the farm's herds. In addition, animals breeders should separate sick animals from the others, contact the nearest government veterinary clinic in case of a suspect animal infected with contagious disease or abnormal cattle mortality, commit to instructions and directions of the vet, and get rid of dead animals properly by contacting the waste collection company in the farm's area.
The authority emphasized the importance of using personal protective equipment for its effective role in reducing risk of contracting a contagious diseases or transmitting them to animals or humans. It warned of drinking milk without boiling, particularly camel milk, eating undercooked meat and fish, and slaughtering animals outside slaughterhouses, which leads to the outbreak of zoonotic diseases transmitted through the blood of slaughtered animals or meat of sick animals, thus affecting the safety of meat and its suitability for human consumption.
Furthermore, the authority has highlighted the need to sterilize tools and equipment contaminated with secretions and excretions of diseased animals, as they are a mean for disease transmission between animals and humans. Therefore, animals' equipment shall be washed and sterilized using any antiseptic.
ADAFSA annually conducts surveillance surveys to monitor infectious diseases, assess the epidemiological status of endemic and emerging diseases, and identify causes of animal mortality. The authority also issues veterinary certification of freedom from diseases for exported animals, to control and eliminate epidemics, which achieves the authority's mission aims at strengthening the biosecurity system to prevent diseases and pests.