Disease mitigation technology tracks movement between farms

GPS technology could help manage the spread of disease on poultry farms within minutes of the first report of disease symptoms.

Doughman Headshot3 Headshot
(Holly McFarlane Photography)
(Holly McFarlane Photography)

GPS technology could help manage the spread of disease on poultry farms within minutes of the first report of disease symptoms.

“This technology is sophisticated, but it’s very simple to apply. It doesn’t just apply to devastating disease outbreaks. It is also important for mitigating disease spread of any type of infectious diseases that can be spread by people in vehicles,” explained Tim Nelson, Founder and President, Be Seen Be Safe.

“Everything we do is evidence-based, so we looked at the research that showed that a lot of the diseases that are common in poultry barns are spread by people in vehicles.”

Network biosecurity

The ability to lock down movement to and from an affected farm is crucial to contain a disease outbreak.

The virtual system creates a perimeter around a poultry property using a GPS technology called geofence. The platform helps track and record staff, visitor and vehicle movement using a phone app, providing timely trace back abilities and communication in the event that disease symptoms are reported.

“What we’re trying to do here is to remove the possibility of human error by automating biosecurity protocols at the farms,” said Nelson. “This is not an individual farm biosecurity. This is a network farm biosecurity. If something happens within the network, we can immediately notify the network – farms that may be infected and people that may be carrying the pathogen – within minutes.”

Maybe COVID-19?

The technology is currently designed to monitor the spread of poultry diseases, like avian influenza. However, with some reprogramming, the app could be used to contact trace possible exposures in case someone who works at a poultry production facility gets COVID-19.

“The app is poultry-centric, not people-centric, so it works on the principle that did someone visit this property where a bird is infected and then did they go anywhere else on property. We’d have to do some reprogramming to make it person-centric,” Nelson said. “It’s a different twist on how we currently use the data, but it could be done.”

View our continuing coverage of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.

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