2016 May - Personal biosecurity guidelines

The Board considers personal biosecurity to be such an important topic for the profession that it has updated its Guideline Responsibilities of a Veterinary Hospital Superintendent to include the recommendation that the Hospital Superintendent develop a written infection control plan for each veterinary hospital. Such a protocol should be reviewed at least annually.

Veterinarians working from unlicensed premises and providing house call and on-site veterinary services should also ensure they have a written infection control plan.

Such a plan would be directed towards reducing the likelihood of people within the veterinary practice acquiring a zoonotic disease.

A model infection control plan for veterinary practices is available to all veterinarians from the AVA’s website which will assist the profession in meeting this requirement.

Hendra, Australian Bat Lyssavirus, Q Fever, Brucellosis and potentially more emerging zoonotic diseases mean that it is vital for veterinarians to be vigilant when it comes to personal biosecurity. 

The Australian Veterinary Association’s second edition Guidelines for Veterinary Personal Biosecurity is also available to all veterinarians from its website.

Personal biosecurity and work health and safety has been highlighted by the recent court decision in Queensland where a veterinarian pleaded guilty to failing to comply with his work health and safety duty.  The veterinarian had not provided the owner with all the necessary protective equipment when conducting tests on a horse where the diagnosis of Hendra Virus was being considered.