Biosecurity for Prevention of Foreign Animal Disease

Policy for the NC State Veterinary Hospital
Prepared by the VH Infectious Disease Control Committee
May 4, 2005
In an effort to prevent the introduction of a Foreign Animal Diseases (FAD) into our clinics, teaching animal unit and research barns, visitors to the NC State Veterinary Hospital (VH) and the students, staff, and faculty of the VH must take steps to help prevent the accidental introduction of these diseases into this country.  Humans can carry pathogens on their clothing, shoes, body (particularly the throat and nasal passages) and personal items.  Some diseases, such as Foot and Mouth Disease, are extremely contagious and may spread among cloven-hoofed animals such as cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and deer.  For this reason, the policies listed below will be enforced at the VH for anyone who has visited a foreign country.

Travel Abroad: Faculty, Staff, Students, and VH Visitors

All VH personnel (faculty, staff, and students) and visitors to the VH returning after a visit within the past 14 days to any foreign country must take the following actions before entering any VH facility.

  • Ideally clothes worn while handling livestock in other countries should not be brought back into the U.S.  Alternatively all clothes worn while visiting a farm, during exposure to livestock, or worn where cloven hoofed animals are present (eg, sheep, deer, cattle, pigs), must be soaked in 100% vinegar solution, followed by laundering all clothes in hot water (hot wash cycle on washing machine).  Some pathogens are susceptible to strong acids and bases.
  • Bathe and shampoo hair thoroughly after returning from travel.
  • Dispose of all shoes worn in the foreign country.  Cleaning alone may not remove the virus.
  • Returning travelers should be restricted for 14 days after their return from a foreign country from contact with any areas in which livestock (cattle, horses, sheep, swine, goats, llamas, etc.) are housed or examined at the VH.
  • Tours of the VH, (for example school tours, visiting groups, etc.) must register with the VH Student Services office.  The office of Student Services is located in Room A-242 of the VH or may be contacted at phone number 919-513-6205.  The Student Services office will be educated on the College’s Policy on Foreign Animal Diseases so that they can appropriately inform tour groups.  Tours must not include areas of the VH where cloven-hoofed animals are housed or examined.
  • Exceptions may be made to this policy when the VH personnel can provide assurance that he/she has not visited a farm, area where farm animals are kept or housed, or have not been in contact with farm animals.  For example, it is acceptable to visit hotels, conferences, airports, or urban areas of a foreign country if there is reasonable assurance that such a visit would not expose the person to a potential foreign animal disease.
  • Exceptions to this policy are allowed for travel to Canada.

Travel Abroad – VH Clients

  • Any client bringing an animal to the VH will be informed of the VH Policy for Prevention of Foreign Animal Diseases.  They may be informed by way of a sign posted at the entrance, a brochure provided for them when their animal is admitted for examination, or personal interview.
  • The Terry Center (TC) and Equine and Farm Animal Center (EFAC) Admissions Information Form that is completed when an animal owner visits the TC or EFAC or arranges an appointment by phone, should include a check-off in which they are asked, “Have you visited a foreign country in the past 14 days?” And, “If the answer is yes, please list the country or countries visited.” After the second part of this question is completed, the TC or EFAC Admission desk should inform the client that they may not enter areas of the hospital where animals are kept.  In addition, the following, restrictions listed below will apply.
  • If the client has recently visited a foreign country, they will not be allowed to enter areas of the EFAC where livestock (cattle, horses, sheep, swine, goats, llamas, etc.) are housed or examined at the VH for 14 days after their visit to a foreign country.  They should receive some educational materials (brochure, pamphlet) and/or consultation from clinician or the hospital’s epidemiologist to explain the reasons for such a restriction.
  • The animal(s) owned by a client that has visited a foreign country within the past 14 days will not be admitted to the VH hospital unless there is an exception by the College’s Epidemiologist.

Warnings Posted and Signage

  • Signage stating the above precautions, and restrictions will be placed at each public entrance to the VH, including the TC, EFAC, and Teaching Animal Unit. The signs should state:
  • The TC or EFAC front desk personnel should be familiar with the policies in section II above, and immediately contact the following personnel in the listed order of priority.  If the first person on the list is not available, contact the next listing, and so on. The contacted person will determine the course of action based on VH Policies.
  • Dr. Jay Levine, CVM Epidemiologist,  Room B-337, Phone (919) 513-6397
  • Dr. Jay Levine, Chair of CVM Infectious Disease Committee, Room B-340, Phone (919) 513-6397.
  • Dr. Barrett Slenning. Room D249B, Phone (919) 513-6324.
  • Curtis Colwell, Equine, Farm Animal and Health and Wellness Centers, and member of VH Infectious Disease Committee (919)-513-6615.
  • Kelly VanDerlaske, Terry Center and member of VH Infectious Disease Committee,Phone (919) 513-8558.

Education and Wellness

The VH Policy on Foreign Animal Disease should be widely disseminated to all students, staff, and faculty. VH staff includes all individuals who work in or around the VH.  Clients and visitors should be notified of the policy either through the use of signs posted at the entrance to the VH, and/or in the way of informational brochures. The Hospital Infectious Disease Control Committee (IDC Committee) will have the responsibility of periodically reviewing this policy for the purpose of updates and oversight, with subsequent approval of changes by the VH Cabinet.

Additional Information Sources

Specific Information Regarding Foot and Mouth Disease

Signs of a Potential Foot & Mouth Disease in Animals:

  • Signs and behaviors, which would alert the observer to the possibility of Foot & Mouth Disease include animals with:
  • vesicles (“blisters”) in the areas in and around the mouth, nostrils, genitals, rectum, and hooves.
  • ulcers in these same areas which appear after vesicles rupture.
  • Lameness and reluctance to move.
  • High fevers and going off feed.
  • More subtle signs may be present in small ruminants, such as sheep and goats which have less obvious vesicles and ulcers.

Reporting Suspect Cases of Foot and Mouth Disease:

  • Any person observing signs in an animal of Foot & Mouth Disease should immediately report them to:
  • Dr. Jay Levine, Room B-340, Phone (919) 513-6397.
  • Dean’s Office, Room A-233, Phone (919) 513-6786
  • Office of the State Veterinarian
  • Dr. David Marshall (919-733-7601). (
  • Dr. Fred Kirkland (919-733-7601).
  • Dr. Beth Yongue (919-733-4136).
  • The State Veterinarian’s Office of the NC Department of Agriculture is the agency with the legal duty and regulatory authority to investigate suspected cases of Foot & Mouth Disease and, if necessary, to quarantine an animal and/or it's premises until the disease is definitively diagnosed.  The State Veterinarian has broad legal authority to act quickly and decisively to respond to potential outbreaks of  Foot & Mouth Disease.  All VH personnel should be encouraged to consider themselves responsible to promptly report ALL suspicious cases of Foot & Mouth Disease to the State Veterinarian’s Office.