Biosecurity risks should be evaluated and prioritized for each facility and production flow
Developing practical, effective biosecurity protocols, which remain in line with the cost of production, should be a priority of all pork producers.
As producers work to improve the herd health at their production units, there are many areas of biosecurity that need to be focused on. One such area that is routinely overlooked is the role of fomites in disease transmission. Fomites are non-human vectors such as, needles, coveralls, supplies and containers that can transport and spread disease.
Needles can be contaminated by injecting an animal that is infected with a virus. Continued use of the same needle between animals results in the spread of the disease. If your farm is experiencing a disease outbreak, needle use protocols should be examined. Options of changing needles frequently or implementing a needle-free injection process can be used to reduce this risk; however these practices are not guaranteed to completely eliminate the spread of a virus. Boots and coveralls are also vectors that transfer disease, washing coveralls and boots after daily use are minimal biosecurity protocols that should be implemented on the farm.
As we review risk of contamination via fomites we need to look at the delivery of supplies and items that may be brought onto 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 on our facilities. 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. In these locations, an employee will apply 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 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. A D&D room may not be an option for all facilities and the “double bagging” method of transferring supplies can also reduce the risk of disease spread. This practice requires all supplies or tools entering the farm to be placed in a “double-bag,” once the items have reached the farm, the outer bag is removed and the items can be brought onto the facility.
Biosecurity risks should be evaluated and prioritized for each facility and production flow. This first step will help producers develop practical, effective biosecurity protocols, while remaining in line with the cost of production for their individual production scheme. A continuous review and training program should be implemented for all farm employees and vendors in order to make a biosecurity plan function in the manner that it was designed. Spot checks on employees and vendors, along with correcting deficiencies, will help maintain biosecurity efforts. Biosecurity practices and reviews of on-farm application 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.