Biosecurity – And a Bout Of Influenza…

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…

An after school excursion last week designed to keep them away from the sick girl...

An after school excursion last week designed to keep them away from the sick girl…

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…


Filed under CAFO, Family, General

9 responses to “Biosecurity – And a Bout Of Influenza…

  1. Joanne

    Glad to hear she is better. Doing my best to keep it out of my house. So far so good!!!

  2. Bobbi

    All I could think about a week ago was biosecurity while I sat in 2 different hospital ER’s with my hubby. Every time someone would cough I would cringe at the thought that I was being exposed to whatever crap they were carrying and knowing that the curtain that separated the sick from the wounded was not going to stop the bugs. Needless to say staying home and away from the sick people is the best answer as I ended up with a cold last week. So the next time I am asked my opinion on how to set up an ER I will suggest that there is compete separation of people coming in for sickness and those that are coming for issues not potentially contagious!! Not that I expect to be asked to set up an ER any time soon, but just in case I am prepared with a vision!! LOL!!!

    • Yes, I feel the same way when I have to take one of the girls into the doctor’s office — sure wish that they would have a “clean waiting room” and an “infected waiting room”!

      Hope that your hubby is healing 🙂

  3. Megan S

    We too had the flu shot but our home was blessed with it 3 wks ago already and the coughing still lingers a bit to this day. I got sick first, tested negative somehow but my daughter and husband followed me up two and four days later and both tested positive. It was not fun stuff and keeping a 3 yr old confined is pretty much impossible! Plus I’m pregnant which complicated things too and I suppose my recovery wasn’t as quick. Luckily my son escaped without illness. Oh and tamiflu for the little kids is in liquid form and must taste terrible because after the first dose she wanted nothing to do with it and then promptly gagged and threw up dose two. We decided it wasn’t worth the one less day of sickness to clean up vomit twice a day for five days! 🙂 bring on spring and healthy days!!!

    • Yes, Yes, Yes — Bring on spring — I’m ready too! It sounds like you have had your share of challenges. I hope that life will get easier for you 🙂


  4. theranchwifechronicles

    Glad Ashley Grace is healthy and no one else has been sick! I like your 3 rules for bio-security. I got my flu shot in late October and reminded J every time he went to town to stop at the clinic. He did get a flu shot, but took his dear sweet time getting it.

    While I was in NE and Iowa in December J came down with the flu. Lucky for me he was over it and sanitized the house before I got home. Other than that we have had a couple annoying head colds.

    Sounds like you are getting some wintry weather?

    • Yes, Robyn — winter has reared it’s head twice this week in NE. I am ready for spring! Glad that you manager to escape the bug — it’s a bad one this year.

      Is your mom in San Antonio?

      Hope that all is well–

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