There is a tremendous amount of information regarding viruses within the AG Industry and the necessity for better Bio-Security practices throughout, but what is the purpose of a bio-security solution? Last year, the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv) tore through the Midwest and killed thousands of piglets. (For more information regarding PEDv please visit this link on the AASV’s website about PEDv.) This year’s virus goes by the name Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) subtype H5N1, and it is killing pigs and chickens. A bio-security solution greatly reduces the chance that your farm will suffer losses due to such viruses.

The H5N1 virus first made its presence in the Midwest in the spring of 2015. The H5N1 virus was first discovered in Asia in 2003, Europe in 2005 and Africa in 2006. The virus made its way over the Atlantic Ocean and was discovered in two turkey farms in British Columbia, Canada in 2014. This virus appears to primarily infect chicken and farm birds, however, wild birds have both died from the virus and been carriers of the virus.

Poultry and Hog farms throughout the U.S. have known that there would come a time that they would need to address Bio-Security needs, and the spread of H5N1 this year has forced their hand. A few large pro-active farms were prepared for the H5N1 outbreak, having already instituted Bio-Security solution that was thought to be overkill–an unnecessary precaution and an unjustified expense. They are now reaping the rewards of their stewardship while unprepared farms are dealing with the fallout of H5N1. Some of the best Bio-Security facilities have instituted stringent shower in/shower out policies and very clearly marked clean and dirty areas.

There are two primary concerns when it comes to Bio-Security on a farm. The first concern is containing the virus on people and preventing it from being spread this way. Farm owners utilize a similar practice to how you wash your hands in the bathroom to avoid spreading germs to prevent spreading H5N1. The procedure for a visitor to enter and exit the farm usually looks similar to the following:

  • Wear booties from their vehicle to the building.
  • Remove contaminated clothes in a “Dirty” room.
  • Place all watches, glasses, computers, phones, etc… in a UV Sanitizing Device.
  • Shower from head to toe.
  • Change into clothes that are supplied by the facility.
  • These clothes are washed and dried within the facility.
  • Put on supplied boots that are supplied by and sanitized at the facility.
  • When leaving the facility, the shower procedure is done in reverse order.
  • Booties are to be worn from the facility back to the vehicle.
  • There is then a 72 hour quarantine period during which that person may not visit any other farms.

The second concern is removing and/or killing the virus from the vehicle. Since the method of H5N1’s transmission has not been confirmed yet, farmers are attempting to thoroughly contain all possible ways the virus could travel. This includes building Bio-Security facilities that can effectively and efficiently wash a vehicle’s tires, undercarriage, front, sides and top. Once the vehicle is washed, the vehicle gets sprayed with a quaternary rinse that effectively kills the virus.

This quaternary rinse typically needs to dry on the vehicle prior to the virus being killed. An automated truck wash can complete the wash and sanitary application in approximately 3 minutes and the major advantage is that the driver no longer needs to leave their vehicle. This allows the vehicles to be quickly cleaned and an adequate amount of quaternary rinse applied to all areas of a vehicle, including the undercarriage and wheels. Other methods of Bio-Security include only rinsing the undercarriage and sides of a vehicle and then quickly applying the quaternary rinse, or just applying a quaternary rinse to vehicles.

With the industry having this situation develop so suddenly and with such immensity, farmers are struggling to find solutions quickly enough. The farmers throughout the Midwest are extremely nervous about the return flights of the migratory birds coming back from up north in the fall. The safeguards that the industry is attempting to institute now are going to determine their success in the future.

Read even more about bio-security on our Bio-Security webpage. We would love to hear any feedback or comments, so please post your thoughts in the comments below. If you would like to just talk to us or ask us for more information about bio-security solutions, you can get in touch with us by phone at 800-666-1992, by email at [email protected], or contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!