A disinfection and drying room can be your first defense against swine diseases

Good biosecurity protocols start with a room dedicated to making sure diseases don't enter your farm. These simple steps can protect your farm from outside viruses.

High health standards continue to take a front seat in the swine business as pork producers continue to put more emphasis on biosecurity protocols and various methods to keep farms disease free. One area of focus on the farm is the delivery of supplies and items that may be brought to the farm by vendors. A way to reduce the instance of disease transfer on these types of fomites (supply boxes, bags and tools) is to incorporate a disinfection and drying (D & D) room.

A D & D room is an area where supplies or contractor tools are received for biosecurity processing before they enter the farm. These rooms are the only entry method for supplies and tools and need to follow strict protocols. Typically only one or two people per facility are trained to operate the room, thereby decreasing human error. Vendors also need training on the protocols of these rooms, reviewing the steps that need to be taken and documenting their understanding of the protocol. Once a vendor has completed their training, they are then given permission to deliver supplies or bring tools into the farm via the D & D room. Here’s how it works:     

  1. From the outside door to the D & D room, supplies are placed on shelves/floor of the room.
  2. The outside door is then closed and, preferably, locked.
  3. A trained farm employee enters the room from inside the farm and puts on designated boots, coveralls and gloves that are kept in the D & D room.
  4. The employee then applies disinfectant to the entire supply container or tool, covering every side with a foaming disinfectant. It is very important to apply the disinfectant with a foaming applicator (which can be purchased at most home and garden supply stores), verses fogging the room, as the direct contact of the foam will work to kill any live virus that might be traveling on the outside of the container.
  5.  Once the disinfectant has been applied to all of the containers, the employee foams the floor of the D & D room, covering any area that may have come in contact with a virus transferred from outside.
  6. They will then remove the protective clothing, leaving them in the D & D room and exit the inside door, back into the facility.
  7. The door should be locked and the supplies need to sit in the room from a minimum of one hour, before advancing further into the facility.

This process should be completed every time the farm receives a delivery of supplies or when a vender requires tools to enter the facility. It is also a good practice for the farm to keep a log of all D & D room activities, including the name of the employee responsible for receiving the supplies.

A continuous review and training program should be implemented for all farm employees and vendors in order to make this room function in the manner that it was designed. Spot checks on employees and vendors who use the D & D room, along with correcting deficiencies, will help assure the proper use of the D & D room and maintain biosecurity efforts. The protocol for D & D rooms, combined with other biosecurity practices will go a long way to help you protect the health of your swine herd. Stopping disease at the door of the farm will enable you to maintain your health status and continue to produce healthy pigs.

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