LBN’s first quarterly Zoonosis Awareness Week a huge success

Frances Gartrell, Manager Biosecurity and Extension, Western Australia

Livestock Biosecurity Network held our first Zoonosis Awareness Week campaign early in April, covering common zoonotic diseases which are passed from livestock to humans. This will be a quarterly event, with the next one concluding on World Zoonosis Day, Friday 6 July.

Major topics covered during the campaign included raising awareness of zoonotic diseases, their main modes of transmission, key risk factors, preventative measures and workplace health and safety.

Other topics included regional risks – such as the higher risk of insect-borne diseases in the tropics – the possibility of wildlife as reservoirs of livestock diseases, and specific information around a range of common and high-risk zoonotic diseases – such as Hendra virus, Q fever and Anthrax, among others.

Interactivity formed the basis of the campaign as we asked questions through social media, polling producers on their understanding of zoonotic diseases and asking where they get their information, how they identify and assess disease risks and what they do to protect themselves. This two-way conversation helped us reach over 30,000 people throughout the week.

One highlight was our participation in the weekly AgChatOZ discussion via Twitter. Over two hours, our team shared information and swapped stories with dozens of producers nationwide, while the main thread also spun off into a number of fascinating side discussions on everything from diagnosis to protective equipment. Our thanks to the team at AgChatOZ for having us on-board and helping to spread the message.

Another highlight was our weekly ‘What’s This? Wednesday’. For those who aren’t familiar, LBN puts a call out via Facebook each week, asking people to identify an animal health condition based on a photo and a hypothetical scenario. Our Zoonosis Awareness Week post focused on a fictional sheep producer who had contracted Anthrax. These posts have continued to build a following among our audience, reaching an unprecedented number of people and prompting a huge amount of responses and feedback.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to our first Zoonosis Awareness Week campaign, through liking, sharing, commenting and adding your stories. Remember to be zoonosis aware – educate, inform, train and protect yourself, your staff and family from zoonotic diseases.

Join us on Facebook and Twitter (@livestockbionet) for our second Zoonosis Awareness Week, 2-6 July 2018, coinciding with World Zoonosis Day on Friday 6 July.