After 10 years as Director of Biosecurity at Colorado State's large animal hospital, Paul Morley, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, recently relayed some of the key lessons he and his colleagues have learned while developing the school's biosecurity program. Morley's presentation at the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) Forum, held June 4-7 in San Antonio, Texas, was titled "Infection Control: A Decade of Lessons Learned."

"One of the biggest obstacles was accepting that this position was not primarily about developing infection control policies and procedures, but rather human relations, communication issues, and achieving compliance and industry buy-in," Morley said.

Other challenges associated with biosecurity identified by Morley were the lack of basic data regarding the necessity or efficacy of the most commonly employed infection control strategies. For example, do footbaths really a reduce patient's risk of developing a nosocomial (hospital acquired) infection? If so, which disinfectants should be utilized?

Nosocomial infections are not a rare problem in the United States. In his presentation, Morley openly relays his concerns regarding the lack of communication on this issue.

"It is widely believed that nosocomial infections only happen to 'bad veterinarians'. Because of this false assumption, the veterinary profession does not openly discuss either minor or major outbreaks," explains Morley.

This is likely not the best approach and only once veterinarians begin to address disease outbreaks can a better understanding of this issue be developed to ultimately guide the industry toward the development of best practice standards and properly address the issue of infection control.

"Infection control is probably not the most critical activity defining excellent medical care, but excellence in patient care can not be achieved without adequate infection control," advises Morley.

About the Author

Stacey Oke, DVM, MSc

Stacey Oke, MSc, DVM, is a practicing veterinarian and freelance medical writer and editor. She is interested in both large and small animals, as well as complementary and alternative medicine. Since 2005, she's worked as a research consultant for nutritional supplement companies, assisted physicians and veterinarians in publishing research articles and textbooks, and written for a number of educational magazines and websites.

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