Serious Weaknesses in Biosecurity Blamed for More PED in Manitoba

CANADA - On the 25 September the Office of the Chief Veterinarian posted a notice on the MAFRD website notifying the industry about a fourth on-farm case of PED in Manitoba.
calendar icon 30 September 2014
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Like the third detected case announced the week before, this case is also in a sow barn, reports Manitoba Pork.

The combination of surveillance and disease investigations into PED over the last nine months has identified several key components of biosecurity that need attention on many swine farms. In particular, biosecurity practices for service providers – such as feed and semen deliverers, meter readers, and rendering collectors – are substandard. Here are some common shortcomings and their potential solutions:

1. Service providers are visiting multiple farms between car washes and not planning their visits to move from high to low health herds. We have to remember that many service people are not familiar with our industry. You have to be asking your service provider which pig facilities they have previously visited, when they were there, and when they last washed their vehicle. They could potentially be coming from an assembly yard, abattoir or other higher-risk site without washing. It is your right and responsibility to protect your farm.

2. Service providers that have no need to enter the barns are entering the barns. When service providers do not need to enter a barn, every step should be taken to avoid it. Feed deliverers are an example of this; discuss a protocol for them to enter your site, deliver the feed and then exit the site. There is no need to be anywhere on the site that is not a direct route from the road to the location they are servicing. In general, ensure the barn doors are locked and arrange for service people to call you before they arrive at your site.

3. When service people are on-site, they are not wearing disposable boot covers. In turn, they are carrying whatever is on the site back into their vehicles and likely to the next farm even if they are washing their vehicle between visits! This could be PED virus! Encourage service providers that need to be on-site to put on disposable boot covers when they are outside of their vehicle. You can further encourage this by having the boot covers available at the end of your driveway and providing on-site options for their disposal.

4. Service providers that have no need to enter the site are entering the site. For some deliveries or pickups, such as semen, medications, dead stock or regular garbage, it is not necessary for service people to drive down your driveway. These contacts should occur either at the end of the driveway or well away from the site.

We do a good job of protecting the inside of our barns, but we should prevent non-essential people from getting anywhere close to the barns too. You need to take the initiative and make arrangements for deliveries and pick-ups to be done at the end of your driveway or at another safer location, either by meeting the service provider for the exchange or providing a storage fridge/unit to facilitate the exchange. Installing a gate at the end of the driveway is an excellent way to limit visitors and remind everyone of the importance you put on your farm’s biosecurity, reports Manitoba Pork.

Virus on infected sites can be found in the yard as well as the barn. It is your responsibility and to your benefit to educate service providers on how to minimize the risk they pose to your farm and your industry. Ask the difficult questions and insist they follow your biosecurity protocols. For a checklist of things service providers should follow when they visit your site, click here.

Charlotte Rowney

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