Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) present highly efficient means of meeting food demands. CAFOs create unique conditions that can affect the health and environment of animals and humans within and outside operations, leading to potential epidemiological concerns that scale with operational size. One such arena meriting further investigation is their possible contribution to novel influenzas. CAFOs present opportunities for cross-species transmission of influenza as demonstrated by reports of swine flu and avian influenza outbreaks. Conditions and pathways leading to novel influenza strains are complex and require varied prevention and intervention approaches. Current challenges for prevention of respiratory viruses entering or leaving swine and poultry CAFOs are multifaceted and include adherence of personal safety measures, lack of training and safety provisions for personnel, and incomplete standardized federal, state, and/or county regulation and enforcement coverage across agricultural systems. This report acknowledges that any proposed CAFO-associated influenza intervention should be cross-organizational, and no single intervention should be expected to provide full resolution. Proposed interventions affect multiple components of the One Health triad, and include seasonal human influenza immunization, PPE regulation and adherence, alternative waste management, general biosecurity standardization and an industry best practices incentive program. Due to the complexity of this problem, multiple anticipated communication, enforcement, and logistical challenges may hinder the full implementation of proposed solutions. General and operation-specific (swine and poultry) biosecurity practices may mitigate some of the risks associated with influenza virus reassortment across species. Education and advocacy can help protect workers, communities, veterinarians and consumers from CAFO-associated influenza virus. To achieve this, there must be more complete communication between CAFOs, governing agencies, health services, animal services, researchers, and consumers to better explore the potential health outcomes associated with CAFOs.
- One Health
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases