Preventing Pathogens in Agriculture & Livestock

Pathogens in Livestock

Nearly 60% of human pathogens are zoonotic, meaning they are infections spread between people and animals, and cause an estimated 2.5 billion illnesses and 2.7 million deaths worldwide every year, according to the CDC. In the past 30 years, we have seen deaths from infectious diseases increase nearly 60%. Trading goods around the world and the in livestock production due to a growing population are major factors in the surge of zoonotic diseases. Pathogens today have the ability to spread quickly across the globe, posing a major threat to humans, animals, and the environment. 

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations  

The emergence of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) in industrialized nations has intensified animal farming in the recent decades. This has led to the emergence of highly pathogenic viruses in farm animals. To slow the spread of zoonotic pathogens associated with CAFOs and prevent new pathogens from emerging, control measures must be taken. 

CAFOs emerged due to the growing demand for meat and other animal proteins after the end of the Second World War. Recent evidence suggests that CAFOs could possibly be contributing to changes in the patterns of infectious diseases, including the increased spread of zoonotic pathogens. Large numbers of animals susceptible to these diseases that are in confined spaces and have reduced genetic diversity could promote the spread of pathogens in CAFOs. When farm animals become infected with pathogens they can then transfer them to humans and drinking source water along with allowing pathogens to evolve with better adaptations to humans.  

Common Livestock Pathogens

Experts have found that strong winds can increase the spread of pathogens, such as Campylobacter, at outdoor chicken farms. Campylobacter is the most common bacterial cause of foodborne illness found at chicken farms in the western United States. Researchers found that more than 85 percent of 27 farms sampled in California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho had some instance of Campylobacter. The researchers stated, “Our analyses suggest that Campylobacter spp. prevalence increases in poultry on farms with higher average wind speeds”.

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza A, also called the bird flu, is highly contagious among birds and has a close to 100 percent death rate. As of March 15, 2023, close to 60 million poultry have been affected. This current outbreak is the worst we’ve seen in the history of the United States and has taken commercial poultry farms out of commission for extended periods of time. 

The most common ways zoonotic diseases are transmitted from animals to humans is by direct contact, contact with contaminated materials, oral ingestion, or inhalation. Keeping animal areas clean and disinfecting equipment after use on animals or animal areas can help prevent and protect against the spread of pathogens among livestock. 


Biotic or infectious diseases are caused by living organisms and are considered plant pathogens when they infect plants. Pathogens can spread from plant to plant and can infect all types of plant tissue from stems, roots, fruit, seeds, and more.

Types of Plant Pathogens

  • Fungi and Fungal-like organisms are responsible for causing more plant disease than any other group or plant pathogens. They can overwinter in soil or on plant debris, usually in southern climates. 
  • Bacteria is introduced to plants through natural openings or wounds in the plants and overwinters, usually in soil or plant material that does not decompose. 
  • Viruses infect other living organisms and replicate the hosts they infect. Viroid’s are like viruses but lack a protein coat. Both viruses and viroid’s are transmitted by vectors including nematodes, fungi, and insects that introduce the virus or viroid during feeding. They can also be transmitted through seed vegetative propagation and pruning.
  • Nematodes are microscopic and worm-like animals that move with soil or are transmitted through insects and infect above ground plant parts. 

For a disease to occur in a plant system there must be a susceptible host plant, a virulent pathogen, and a favorable environment. Within each of these components the variables that affect the severity of the disease and the incidence are genetic diversity, biology, and the lifecycle of the host plant and pathogen along with the environmental conditions.

Disinfecting Livestock & Agriculture Against Pathogens

To properly reduce, remove, inactivate, or destroy pathogens, proper cleaning and disinfecting procedures must be carried out to control the spread or transfer of pathogens from direct or indirect contamination of equipment, vehicles, people, facilities, and the transfer or animal products or animals. 

Depending on several factors, cleaning and disinfection processes may vary. Disinfection methods can include the use of physical or chemical processes that reduce, inactivate, or destroy pathogens. The disinfection selected for use should be registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and properly labeled. Many disinfection methods or products can cause irritation to the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract along with causing allergic reactions, burns, or other injury. Many chemical products can also be toxic to the environment or animals resulting in extra precautions to be taken.

Paerosol has been successfully tested by US and Foreign Government Agencies against common pathogens found in livestock and agriculture, such as H1N1 (swine flu), H5N1 (bird flu), and food borne illnesses. The platform consists of a dry spray technology that poses no harmful side effects to humans or animals and destroys pathogens instantly. Keep your crops and livestock safe in the food production process by using Paerosol to kill bacteria, viruses, and mold on contact efficiently and effectively. 

Contact the Paerosol team to learn more about how our technology can keep your practices safe.