A longstanding definition of biosecurity reads “a set of preventive measures designed to reduce the risk of transmission of infectious diseases”. As a caregiver for thousands of animals, the term is never far from my mind.
This past week, my concern with biosecurity reached past the feed yard gate and into my home. Influenza A plagued my favorite basketball playing teenager and left her very ill for several days. During this time, I felt compelled to lecture my girls multiple times on the basics of controlling the spread of disease.
- Proactive vaccination against disease wherever possible
- Dedication to good sanitation
- Isolation of the affected individual during the contagious period of the disease
Looking back over the events that led to the flu episode of last week, the only one of the three listed above that Ashley Grace abided by was the first one. Our family had quality time getting flu shots last October as we do every year. I started the tradition when the girls were little — we go “oldest to youngest” with the rule that if the person before you doesn’t cry, then you can’t cry when it is your turn for inoculation 🙂
My favorite teenager has a tendency to drink straight from the milk jug (viewing glasses as superfluous). She spends her winter in the classroom, on the basketball court and traveling on a bus to games — relatively tight confinement in settings that sometimes share her lack of dedication to good hygiene.
Influenza A passed through our town with a vengeance over the past couple of weeks. Given the facts listed above, it really did not surprise me when chills racked her body and left her in bed for three and a half days despite getting tamiflu on board early in the illness. If asked, she would likely report that I became a bit paranoid during her illness – banning her to her room and isolating her from her younger sisters; in addition to following along behind her with Clorox wipes.
I believe at one point I threatened to kick her out of the house if I caught her drinking straight from the milk jug…
I am glad to report that Ashley Grace returned to school yesterday the same sassy girl that we all know and love. I am also glad to report that (at this point), the rest of our family has remained unscathed from the nasty bug. My favorite blonde cowgirl spent last week moonlighting on crutches due to a pole vaulting accident but THAT is a story for another day…