By Lorraine Stevenson-Hall, Biosecurity and Content Lead
Research continues to reveal that, if biosecurity is not done well, livestock transport is a significant risk point for introducing Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) or other diseases to swine farms.
A study of the PED outbreak in Italy that occurred in 2015-2017 studied the role of transportation in disease spread.1 During the outbreak, the virus was found in the production dense area of Northern Italy, mainly in farrow-to finish and finisher farms.
Researchers took a total of 2,182 swabs from 1,091 livestock trucks at slaughter facilities and tested them for PED virus. Samples were taken after animals were unloaded and both before and after cleaning and disinfecting. High-pressure washing was used and disinfection was with glutaraldehyde, quaternary ammonium salts, chloramine T, and Virkon® based products. Of the 1,091 trucks, 154 (14%) of them were positive for PEDv before cleaning and disinfecting. Samples taken again after cleaning and disinfecting of the trucks showed 46% still tested positive for PEDv. So, routine cleaning and disinfecting procedures were successful in only 54% of the trucks that were tested.
Routine cleaning and disinfecting procedures were successful in only 54% of the trucks tested.
The high percentage of trucks that tested positive for PEDv even after cleaning and disinfecting leads to questions about how the procedure was done. It’s not clear from the research paper the exact steps that were taken, except that routine cleaning and disinfecting procedures were followed.
The University of Belgium Biocheck system outlines a seven-step protocol for effective cleaning and disinfecting:2
- dry cleaning to remove all organic material
- soaking of all surfaces with detergent
- high pressure cleaning with water to remove all dirt
- drying to avoid dilution of the disinfectant to be applied
- drying so that animals afterwards will not come into contact with pools of remaining disinfectant
- testing to verify effectiveness
In a recent podcast, Dr. Derald Holtkamp, Professor in the Department of Veterinary Diagnostics and Production Animal Medicine at Iowa State University, indicates that the majority of chemical disinfectants must have contact with the pathogen to be effective and become inactivated by organic matter such as manure. With a high rate of survival outside of its host, PEDv can remain infective in manure for up to nine months.
With a high rate of survival outside of its host, PEDv can remain infective in manure for up to nine months.
This emphasizes how crucial it is to remove all organic matter so that the disinfectant can be have direct contact with the pathogen to be effective. It also highlights the fact that transport activities, especially livestock transport, is a high-risk event for introducing diseases like PEDv to swine farms.
When it comes to addressing biosecurity hazards related to transportation and movement events, Farm Health Guardian is a proven farm biosecurity management software solution. The system can be used to validate biosecurity protocols like truck washing. Plus, by monitoring the movement of vehicles onto the farm and sending notifications, Farm Health Guardian can strengthen farm biosecurity. To learn more, visit Farm Health Protect.