Protecting Workers from COVID-19 and Other Infections
Animal agriculture workers can be exposed to a range of infectious diseases, from avian influenza to COVID-19. Two-thirds of emerging infectious diseases in humans come from animals. Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it essential for animal farms to have effective infection prevention and control programs in place to protect workers as well as animals.
Creating and implementing an effective infection prevention and control plan on an animal farm requires coordination from multiple parties, including experts in human occupational health, animal health, industrial hygiene and public health.
The University of Washington's Center for One Health Research, Harborview Medical Center, and the Northwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety Continuing Education Program have assembled a set of learning modules to address this important issue. This is designed as a continuing education course, however due to the urgency of the issue, we are making the content freely available.
The training modules are designed to assist the process of creating and implementing infection prevention and control plans on animal farms that will control COVID-19 as well as other infectious diseases important for both human and animal health. Through workplace hazard identification, control and evaluation, and integration of occupational medicine services, such programs can protect the health of both workers and animals on farms.
Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Plan
The IPC Plan is a basic plan for controlling transmission of COVID-19 and other infections between humans and between humans and animals on an animal farm.
The downloadable template below is a customizable document that can serve as an exposure prevention and control plan for all infectious diseases that might be present on a given farm, including Covid-19. Any procedures that you have implemented for Covid-19 exposure assessment and control can be incorporated into this plan along with procedures for preventing and controlling other possible zoonotic diseases, such as those that are reviewed in Module 2. The template is designed to be completed by using the template instructions, which walks you through all of the steps required to develop your customized plan.
The template plan should be customized to a farm in keeping with local, state, and federal regulations and it should be adapted to align with a farm biosecurity plan and your overall employee health and safety plan. Wherever you see red text in brackets, you should replace this with information specific to your farm’s plan.
You can use the CDC Agricultural Employer Checklist for COVID-19 and other resources below to guide the implementation of your plan.
Module 1, Section 1
A One Health approach to infection prevention and control on animal farms to address COVID-19 and other infections
Module 1, Section 2
How to create a COVID-19 exposure control plan as part of an overall infection prevention and control plan
Module 2, Section 1
COVID-19 and other infections on animal farms
Module 2, Section 2
More infections on animal farms: Antimicrobial-resistant bacteria, causes of diarrhea
Module 4, Section 1
Occupational medicine services and program plans for infection prevention and control to address COVID-19 and other infections on animal farms
Module 4, Section 2
The components of a farm infection control plan
Module 5, Section 1
Infectious disease emergency response
Peter Rabinowitz, MD, MPH is professor of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences at the University of Washington and director of the Center for One Health Research
Leslie Tengelesen, PhD, DVM is the State Public Health Veterinarian (SPHV) for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, Division of Public Health.
John Lynch, MD, MPH is an Associate Professor of Medicine, Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the University of Washington Harborview Medical Center (HMC).
Nicole Errett, PhD, MSPH is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences at the University of Washington School of Public Health. Her research focuses on the development, implementation, effectiveness and impact of policies and programs that influence health in the context of disasters.
Kate Durand, MHS, CIH, CSP is a Continuing Education Manager of the DEOHS Continuing Education Programs at the U of W. She has over twenty years of experience practicing, teaching and doing research in Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety as well as Emergency Preparedness and Response in a variety of settings including academic, government, non-profit, and private sector organizations. Kate is a Continuing Education Manager of the DEOHS Continuing Education Programs at the U of W.
Nancy Simcox, MS, is an assistant teaching professor in the Exposure Sciences program in the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences (DEOHS) and director of the DEOHS Continuing Education Programs at the U of W.
Special Acknowledgement to Dr. Gail Fraser Chanpong for assisting the team with curriculum development and piloting the course with students during 2019-2020.
Special Acknowledgment: Funding provided by the Washington State Department of Health and the Northwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety.