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 Chapter 10: Disease Prevention, Control & Eradication




There is an important distinction among the 3 terms, prevention, control, and eradication. Prevention is of most immediate concern to the individual veterinarian in private practice. Prevention can be defined as inhibiting the introduction of disease into an area, herd, or individual.

Control is a more appropriate term when disease is already present. Control efforts consist of the steps taken to reduce the problem to a tolerable level.

Eradication is the final step in disease control efforts; it consists of complete elimination of the disease-producing agent from a defined geographic region.

Disease control

The success of control programs, particularly those in which the disease has been eradicated, has been based on the epidemiologic principle of interrupting the cycle of infection at its weakest link.

Levels of prevention

Prevention of disease is divided into 3 levels. Primary prevention is aimed at maintaining a healthy population; i.e., preventing the occurrence of disease. Secondary prevention (also called disease control) attempts to minimize resultant damage after disease has occurred and primary prevention has failed. Tertiary prevention consists of rehabilitation after primary and secondary prevention have failed.

Primary prevention involves the healthy population. Secondary and tertiary Prevention is aimed at the diseased or patient population. The economic aspect of disease prevention is of paramount importance; particularly in considering food animals. Simply stated, as one progresses from primary through secondary to tertiary prevention, the cost per animal unit usually increases.

Preventive approaches

There are 3 broad approaches to prevention and control: neutralizing the reservoir, reducing contact potential, and increasing resistance. More than 1 approach may be effective in controlling some diseases. The method selected will depend on economic and other factors.

Review Questions:

1. List 3 examples of major accomplishments in worldwide control of disease in man.

2. List 5 examples of major accomplishments in the U.S. to control disease in animals and give 2 examples of how effective disease control in animals has affected the incidence of disease in man.

3. Differential prevention, control, and eradication.

4. List 5 examples of animal diseases that have been eradicated from the U.S.

5. List 4 examples of human diseases that have been controlled or eradicated from the U.S.

6. Differentiate eradication and practical eradication.

7. Give an example of practical eradication.

8. Explain the essential approach in epidemiologically based disease control.

9. Differentiate the 3 levels of prevention.

10. Tell how the life cycle and host spectrum of the agent influence control efforts.

11. List 3 broad approaches to disease prevention and control.


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