Faced with falling profit margins from conventional livestock production, farmers have sought to diversify into new ventures to increase farm income. Despite a setback during the 2001 foot-and-mouth disease epidemic, farm attractions have been an important growth area in recent years and help to bridge the gap between urban living and the agricultural industry. Livestock farms that open to the public are now a well established part of the tourism industry in Britain and serve useful leisure, entertainment and educational roles. Close contact with animals or their environment may occasionally result in injury or zoonotic illness in humans. This article discusses the major zoonoses associated with farm livestock and highlights the role of veterinary surgeons in preventing and controlling disease on public farms.
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■ Avoiding ill health at open farms. HSE Agriculture Information Sheet No 23 (revised 2011). www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/ais23.pdf (Accessed May 10, 2011)
■ Common zoonoses in agriculture. HSE Agriculture Information Sheet No 2 (revised). www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/ais2.pdf (Accessed May 10, 2011)
■ UK zoonoses report, which has a comprehensive annual summary of the zoonotic disease situation in the UK. http://archive.defra.gov.uk/foodfarm/farmanimal/diseases/atoz/zoonoses/reports.htm (Accessed May 10, 2011)
■ HPA zoonoses newsletters, which contain information on recent zoonotic incidents, including the cryptosporidiosis outbreak in Cumbria. www.hpa.org.uk/Topics/InfectiousDiseases/InfectionsAZ/Zoonoses/ZoonosesNewsletters/ (Accessed May 10, 2011)
■ Guidelines for investigation of zoonotic disease, which provide general background information on dealing with zoonoses. www.hpa.org.uk/Topics/InfectiousDiseases/InfectionsAZ/Zoonoses/Guidelines/ (Accessed May 10, 2011)
■ Quarterly reports of non-statutory zoonoses activities in Great Britain. http://vla.defra.gov.uk/reports/rep_surv_zoonoses.htm (Accessed May 13, 2011)
■ Public information leaflet about visiting open farms. www.hse.gov.uk/agriculture/articles/joint-communication.pdf
■ Q fever: information for farmers. www.hpa.org.uk/web/HPAwebFile/HPAweb_C/1210834106356 (Accessed May 10, 2011)
■ Zoos Forum Handbook. ww2.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/zoos/zoo-forums-handbook/ (Accessed June 8, 2011)
■ Guidance on how to manage zoonotic risk in zoos and wildlife parks. www.biaza.org.uk/resources/library/images/zoonotic%20risk.pdf (Accessed June 8, 2011)
■ COSHH guidance. www.hse.gov.uk/coshh/index.htm? (Accessed June 8, 2011)
■ Advice to pregnant women during the lambing season. www.hpa.org.uk/web/HPAweb&Page&HPAwebAutoListName/Page/1191942128199 (Accessed June 6, 2011)
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