Time to Fine-Tune Biosecurity Basics

March 13, 2014

3 Min Read
Time to Fine-Tune Biosecurity Basics

The recent arrival and rapid spread of the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) in the U.S. has helped reinforce the importance of following strict on-farm biosecurity measures. “We’re doing a good job of tracking and spreading PEDV ourselves,” says Rodney “Butch” Baker, DVM, interim director of the Iowa Pork Industry Center. He offered biosecurity tips to pork producers as part of a presentation at the recent Iowa Pork Congress.

It is known that large amounts of PEDV virus can be transferred in a small amount of manure. Research about other possible ways that PEDV is spreading is still evolving. Baker cites recent University of Minnesota research efforts looking at factors that seem to be common to farms testing positive for PEDV that differ from farms in the same area that did not break with the disease. Questionnaires were sent to PEDV-positive and negative sites in both Oklahoma and North Carolina. The researchers stress that the results will change as more data can be gathered and analyzed, but several trends seemed to be emerging:

■ PEDV-positive sites had approximately double the frequency of feed-truck deliveries when compared to negative sites.

■ PEDV-positive sites had approximately triple the frequency of trucks visiting to remove pigs of any age from positive sites compared to negative sites.

■ There were approximately five times as many trash pickups from positive sites compared to negative sites.

■ Approximately double the percentage of positive sites had dead stock removal vehicles on the premises in the two weeks preceding infection.


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Because PEDV is transferred through feces and survives in manure for extended periods of time, farm visitors can unknowingly be bringing the virus to the farm on seemingly clean clothing, shoes or transport vehicles. Baker strongly encourages producers to define a clear line of separation between the area that is used by any pig transporters, and farm personnel. If the line of separation is crossed, farm personnel must shower in and out — or at the very least change clothing and boots.

The farm’s biosecurity protocols should be shared with any service personnel, contractors and maintenance workers who may be coming to the farm. Producers should stock their sites with the equipment that may be needed to make repairs or conduct maintenance on that farm to help avoid the risk of transporting the virus on tools or supplies.

Baker encourages producers to keep a logbook on the site to document visitors who may have had access to pigs. Part of the logging process could also ask visitors to note the most recent place they visited. “A logbook makes people think before they enter the barn,” Baker notes.

Vehicles that are coming to the site should be kept as far away from barns as possible. Baker says producers should contact their feedmills to ask if feed trucks can adjust delivery schedules and routes to make sure the trucks are not moving from PEDV-positive sites to negative ones. “Ideally, trucks should be able to unload feed without entering the site, from outside the site fence,” he says. Barn staff should be available to help open feed-bin doors and perform tasks so delivery drivers don’t have to enter buildings. “Farm employees should be required to shower back in when checking feed bins,” he adds.

In order to avoid having delivery drivers walk into farm buildings to deliver paperwork, Baker suggests that sites should have a mailbox or other location at the end of the driveway where invoices and other documents could be deposited.

The pork checkoff has compiled a list of PEDV resources and fact sheets, both online and in a booklet. Learn more about biosecurity practices to help prevent PEDV at the pork checkoff website at www.pork.org  

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