Submitted by dasko2 on Fri, 03/13/2020 - 13:22


Designing Biosecurity Systems

VCM 561 | 4 credit hours

Contact Information

Instructor: Dr. James Lowe

Course Description

This is an 8-week professional and graduate level course that covers the principles of biosecurity. The course will allow students to design a comprehensive protocol for a given site. This course emphasizes how to optimize interventions in livestock production systems to minimize the economic impact of infectious disease. The instructors assume that enrolled students have a foundational knowledge of pathogens and livestock system design and operations.

This course will take 7-9 hours per week (estimate includes lectures, readings, assignments, etc).

Mode of Teaching

This course is fully online using Compass 2g ( supported by Blackboard. The content will be presented as text, videos, and other media. The course covers the same amount of material that would be expected if the class were a traditional campus-based course. Due to the nature of online learning, students must be diligent about their learning, engaging often and actively.

Course Goals

Students will possess the knowledge required to be able to build a protocol for a give livestock site to improve the control infectious disease.

Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Apply design principles for effective biosecurity to a livestock production site.
  2. Develop mitigation strategies that can be implemented easily, effectively, and continuously.
  3. Create a comprehensive biosecurity protocol for a single livestock production site.

Module Topics

  • Module 1: Principles of Biosecurity
    • Principles of biosecurity
    • Sources of pathogens in livestock systems
    • Primary routes of transmission of pathogens between livestock populations
    • Primary routes of transmission of pathogens within livestock populations
    • Estimating the cost of disease in livestock populations
  • Module 2: Animal Entry
    • Closed vs. open herds
    • Understanding a source herd's impact on system health
    • Timing and age of entry for replacement females
    • Location, design and testing in isolation facilities
    • Evaluating semen sources and health implications
  • Module 3: Livestock Transportation
    • Design and operation of loading facilities
    • Dedication and flow of live haul equipment
    • Cleaning of live haul equipment
    • Decontamination of live haul equipment
    • Management of live haul drivers and their equipment
  • Module 4: People, Supply, and Equipment Entry
    • Design of people entry facilities
    • Procedures for entry of people and the things that accompany them
    • Design and operation of supply entry facilities
    • Building systems that minimize the risk of equipment risk for transmission of pathogens
  • Module 5: Facility Design and Management
    • Design of manure handling systems and their implications on biosecurity
    • Operating manure handling systems in a biosecure manner
    • Options for deadstock removal
    • Operating deadstock removal systems in a biosecure manner
    • Preventing non-livestock animals from entering facilities
    • Minimizing the risk of pathogen introduction through feed

Course Overview

  • Course Structure Overview

All course materials will be accessed via the internet. Course modules will be a combination of video lectures, quizzes, discussions, assignments with a final project.

Course Requirements

  • Required Textbooks

The required textbook will be posted on the course site.

  • Technical Requirements

Knowledge of and operation of a computer is the students’ personal responsibility.

You will need:

  • A reliable device.
  • High-speed internet connection: e.g. DSL or Cable.
  • Supported web browser: e.g. a recent version of Google Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.
  • Access Microsoft Office 365 (Net ID and password needed) & have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed.
  • Minimum technical skills: At a minimum, students must possess the ability to navigate Blackboard.  This includes accessing course content, posting to a discussion board, and completing online assignments, quizzes, self-assessments, and exams.
  • Online meetings via ZOOM: We use a software solution called ZOOM for online meetings. Student may join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android or call by telephone. The meeting link or telephone number will be provided after meeting is scheduled to join a meeting. A webcam is preferred for easier communication.


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