Science Page: Protecting the Inevitable Risk; Biosecurity Evaluation at a Truck Wash

We hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! An ever increasing amount of you is visiting this blog every month so thank you, we appreciate your support!

This is our Friday rubric: every week a new Science Page from the Bob Morrison’s Swine Health Monitoring Project. The previous editions of the science page are available on our website.

This week we are sharing a report by Megan Bloemer on biosecurity at a truck wash. Megan, a 3rd-year veterinary student from the University of Illinois, presented this project at the Leman Conference this year and won the Morrison Swine Innovator Prize.

Key points:

  • Monitoring cab cleaning and hot shot handle cleaning via Glo Germ Gel is simple and cost-effective.
  • Wiping down the cab interior with intervention wipes only adds around 5 minutes. These minor cost and time additions to truck wash procedures can help to prevent a million-dollar PRRS break.
  • Truck wash crew and trailer washers are often overlooked but perform a job that is essential in maintaining biosecurity and disease outbreak and therefore herd health.

The objective of this study was to assess overall biosecurity at the truck wash and identify potential areas of concern, measure and evaluate these areas of concern, and suggest solutions.

Potential Areas of Concern Identified

Cab Cleaning

Glo Germ Gel under a UV light when the door handle was not cleaned (left) and was wiped down (right).

The areas observed for cleaning included: steering wheel, dash, handles, climate control buttons, and radio. These areas were not being focused on; but are critical areas touched each time a driver is in the cab. In addition, it was difficult for monitors to tell if a cab had been cleaned or not by visual inspection alone.

Equipment Movement

After the three-day observation period, it became apparent that all equipment besides hot shots stayed in the dryers. Thus, hot shots were identified as the main equipment of concern. They were not returning with each trailer load, leading to biosecurity concerns.

Monitor Movement

Monitors inspect both PRRS positive and PRRS negative trailers throughout the day, before the wash crew is allowed to disinfect each trailer. Although monitors change boots and put on Tyvek before inspecting negative trailers, there is no true clean / dirty line where they change shoes.

Evaluation

Cab Cleaning

Steering wheel, dash, door handle, climate control buttons, and radio control buttons were evaluated on how well they were cleaned with a Glo Germ Gel product. The Glo Germ Gel was applied while the trucks were waiting in line to be cleaned. The assessment was performed using an UV light for any trace of the Glo Germ, indicating whether the surface had or had not been cleaned. The interior of cabs were not being cleaned as well as possible as evidenced by the amount of fluorescence that was detected in those five critical areas.

Equipment Movement

All of the hot shot handles and prods were numbered in both the PRRS positive and PRRS negative equipment sheds on a Sunday. Every night for the next five days it was checked if each hot shot was present, which equipment shed it was in, and new ones were numbered as they appeared. Throughout the course of those five days hot shot handles and prods were not being returned on a consistent basis. However, the equipment was not switched between the PRRS positive and PRRS negative sheds.

Monitor Movement

Glo Germ Gel and Powder was applied to the shoes of monitors and on positive trailers before monitors inspected them. Although no Glo Germ was appreciated in the PRRS negative areas, it may still be a potential area of concern and should be further evaluated.

Interventions

Cab Cleaning

In order to ensure that the interior of cabs were being cleaned as well as possible,the truck wash crew was shown images of the cab interiors with the Glo Germ Gel comparing interiors that were wiped down and those that were not. Current protocols could be clarified, and the importance of cab cleaning should be emphasized. Glo Germ Gel also gives the monitors the ability to do random internal audits of cab cleaning.

Equipment Movement

In order to check hot shot handle and prod cleanliness Glo Germ can be applied at the same time monitors put Glo Germ in the cabs. To encourage returning hot shots the truck wash crew can continue to write down cull and gilt trailers that do not return with a hotshot. To stop any potential cross-contamination, the PRRS-positive hot shots could be painted red.

Monitor Movement

Although no Glo Germ was appreciated it is possible that monitor movement is still a potential biosecurity risk and should be further evaluated. It appears that the Glo Germ washed right off as the trailers were wet when the monitors inspected them.

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