Biosecurity is the protection of people, animals and the environment from infectious disease, pests and other biological threats. It is achieved through systems that aim to prevent disease introduction or spread, or mitigate an outbreak if it occurs, and are reliant on national and international policies and plans for dealing with a disease event. Stopping the entry, establishment and spread of unwanted pests and diseases is vital for some of our most important industries, including horse racing, meat and livestock industries, and for protecting and preserving our native wildlife.
The Australian Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre for Emerging Infectious Disease (AB-CRC) focuses on biosecurity measures for the protection of public, animal and wildlife health and associated industries through its Research and Education & Training Programs. This includes developing and refining diagnostic tests, improving understanding of disease ecology, and advancing surveillance methods for disease tracking, as well as helping to build strong national and international networks to help deal with emerging disease.
Sentinel cattle are a surveillance tool to test for new or emerging infectious diseases
Each State and Territory in Australia has a government department responsible for providing information on biosecurity issues:
What are Emerging Infectious Diseases?
Emerging infectious diseases are defined in three different ways as:
1. New or previously unrecognised diseases, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) or Hendra virus
2. Known diseases which have increased in incidence, virulence or geographic range over the past two decades, such as foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) or bluetongue virus (BTV)
3. Diseases which threaten to increase in the near future, such as pandemic influenza or Dengue
In the past two decades, 75% of emerging infectious diseases have been zoonoses – infections transmitted from animals to humans – and most have originated from wildlife. Along with many leading animal and public health authorities worldwide, the Australian Biosecurity CRC partnership supports the ‘One Health’ view that protecting and promoting the wellbeing of all species is essential for managing new and emerging diseases globally.
Key Emerging Infectious Disease Websites
APEC Emerging Infections Network (USA)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (USA)
International Society for Infectious Diseases
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (USA)
World Organisation for Animal Health [Office Internationale des Epizooties]
US Department of Defense Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response System (USA)
World Health Organization