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Biosecurity practices and travel history of individuals exhibiting livestock at the 2005 California State Fair

Clair ThunesCenter for Animal Disease Modeling and Surveillance, Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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Tim E. CarpenterCenter for Animal Disease Modeling and Surveillance, Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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Abstract

Objective—To determine biosecurity practices and travel history of individuals exhibiting livestock at the 2005 California State Fair.

Design—Survey.

Study Population—137 individuals exhibiting livestock at the fair.

Procedures—Exhibitors were asked to complete a survey to gather information about the animals they exhibited, the biosecurity practices they used, and the distances they traveled to exhibit their animals.

Results—132 of the 137 (96%) respondents came from California, with respondents representing 40 of California's 58 counties. Median number of livestock exhibitions attended by respondents during the past 12 months was 3 (range, 1 to 7). Respondents indicated that 787 of the 812 (97%) animals they exhibited would be returned home after the fair. Nine (7%) respondents indicated that they did not take any particular biosecurity precautions before arriving at the fair, and 14 (10%) indicated that they did not take any particular biosecurity precautions while at the fair. Only 36 (26%) respondents indicated that they quarantined their animals when returning to their farm of residence after the fair.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that there was extensive movement of livestock among exhibitions in California, posing a potential threat for widespread dispersion of disease throughout the state and beyond, particularly given the low percentages of exhibitors who used various biosecurity measures.

Abstract

Objective—To determine biosecurity practices and travel history of individuals exhibiting livestock at the 2005 California State Fair.

Design—Survey.

Study Population—137 individuals exhibiting livestock at the fair.

Procedures—Exhibitors were asked to complete a survey to gather information about the animals they exhibited, the biosecurity practices they used, and the distances they traveled to exhibit their animals.

Results—132 of the 137 (96%) respondents came from California, with respondents representing 40 of California's 58 counties. Median number of livestock exhibitions attended by respondents during the past 12 months was 3 (range, 1 to 7). Respondents indicated that 787 of the 812 (97%) animals they exhibited would be returned home after the fair. Nine (7%) respondents indicated that they did not take any particular biosecurity precautions before arriving at the fair, and 14 (10%) indicated that they did not take any particular biosecurity precautions while at the fair. Only 36 (26%) respondents indicated that they quarantined their animals when returning to their farm of residence after the fair.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that there was extensive movement of livestock among exhibitions in California, posing a potential threat for widespread dispersion of disease throughout the state and beyond, particularly given the low percentages of exhibitors who used various biosecurity measures.

Contributor Notes

Supported by the US Department of Homeland Security and the National Center for Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease Defense.

Presented in part at the Conference of Research Workers in Animal Disease, St Louis, December 2005.

The authors thank Edith Marshall, Andy Cheung, Brad Dickey, Lasse Christiansen, Ricardo Ertze, Pam Hullinger, Mimako Kobayashi, Rui Duarte Lopes, Dale Moore, Mark Thurmond, and Tomme Jo Dale for assisting in creation and administration of the survey and for providing information on the California State Fair; Lasse Christiansen for providing technical assistance; and Edith Marshall for assistance with the statistical analysis.

Address correspondence to Dr. Thunes.