The effectiveness of biosecurity interventions in reducing the transmission of bacteria from livestock to humans at the farm level: A systematic literature review
Zoonotic bacterial infections are a health hazard for people who are in regular contact with livestock at the farm level. Improved biosecurity can limit zoonotic pathogen transmission within farms. The aim of this review was to summarize the effectiveness of farm‐level biosecurity interventions in reducing bacterial transmission from animals to people who lived, worked in or visited farms. A systematic literature review was conducted using Embase, Ovid Medline and Agris databases, which were searched on 7th of July 2019, limited to English language papers but with no time exclusion criteria. A narrative synthesis was undertaken utilizing the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination approach, reported in accordance with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta‐Analyses guidelines. Risk of bias within and across the included studies was performed using established checklists. Out of 869 studies retrieved through database searches, 11 studies were selected. In addition, three studies were found through study reference lists. Fourteen studies were therefore included in this review. Biosecurity interventions were grouped into five categories: hand washing, sanitization and hygienic measures (six studies); personal protective equipment (five studies); vaccination (two studies); other interventions (e.g. air ventilation flap) (four studies); and routine farm activities (two studies). Across studies that investigated odds of human colonization or infection (three studies), odds were seen to both be increased and decreased through use of tested biosecurity measures. Large confidence intervals that often crossed the threshold of an odds ratio equal to 1 were found. Most of the studies' overall risk of bias was ‘medium risk’ (11 studies), with selection bias domains generally being scored ‘medium risk.’ Biosecurity interventions are potentially beneficial in reducing bacterial transmission from animals to humans. However, more high‐quality evidence is needed to increase certainty in which interventions, in which contexts, are most effective from the human health perspective.