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.

The 2018 Allen D. Leman Swine Conference successfully continued its tradition of high-quality content while innovating

The 2018 edition of the Allen D. Leman swine conference held in St. Paul, MN continued to offer a wide range of high-quality, science-driven presentations while innovating on several aspects of its program.

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Megan Bloemer (right) receives the Morrison Swine Innovator Prize from Dr. Perle Boyer (left)

This year marked the second year of the DVM student session at the Leman conference but the first time that a student received the Morrison Swine Innovator Prize. Megan Bloemer, a student from the University of Illinois was truly honored to be the first recipient of this prestigious recognition. Megan received a $7,500 scholarship in addition to participating in an exclusive workshop with the other DVM students-presenters. The quality of the students’ presentations was excellent but the practicality and the innovation with which Megan treated the issue of truck wash biosecurity put her at the top.

Sunday afternoon, the new Beer and Bacon conversation series was launched. The session, during which Dr. Matthew Turner was interviewed by Dr. Marie Culhane, was extremely popular. Seating was limited so do not forget to register early if you would like to attend next year!

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Dr Rebecca Robbins (left), Science in Practice awardee and Dr. Montse Torremorell (right)

We celebrated Dr. Rebecca Robbins for her well-deserved recognition as the Science  in Practice awardee of the year. The reception held in the Science museum in St Paul was sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim.

 

The spread of African Swine Fever in China and Western Europe prompted us to dedicate two very well-attended sessions on this topic. The first session on Monday afternoon coordinated by Dr. John Deen included a summary of what is known about the disease by Dr. Chris Oura, then a clinical case experienced in Russia by Dr. Gustavo Lopez and a presentation by Patrick Webb on ASF awareness in the industry and beyond. On Tuesday, Dr. Scott Dee presented his latest research on the risk from feed ingredients for the transmission of ASF.

For more information, the University of Minnesota launched two webpages:

The 2018 Allen D. Leman conference continued to propose high quality keynote speakers.
Dr. Brad Freking and Dr. Deb Murray from New Fashion Pork gave the first Morrison lecture and presented their vision of pig farming. They explained how they chose to decrease their antimicrobial usage while reserving the right to treat pigs when needed and why they launched Old Fashion Pork.

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Dr. Maria Pieters presenting

Dr. Maria Pieters reminded us of the issues associated with having a Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae  positive herd and challenged the swine industry to eradicate the diseases that can be eradicated so that we can focus on diseases that are harder to control.

Becca Martin and Randy Spronk gave an update on trade in pigs and the current challenges that we are facing as an exporting nation. Free trade seems to be the best option for our producers in order to maintain the market.

Dr. Michael Rahe presented the Pijoan lecture on behalf of Dr. Michael Murtaugh giving us a overview of the past 30 years dealing with PRRS. Sadly, Dr. Murtaugh passed away that very same day, from his battle with cancer.

As always, we would like to thank all of you for your continuing support. The Allen D. Leman swine conference would not exist without you and we hope to see you next year: September 14-17, 2019.

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Megan Bloemer, U of Illinois student, receives the Morrison Swine Innovator Prize

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Megan Bloemer (right) receives the Morrison Swine Innovator Prize from Dr. Perle Boyer (left).

University of Illinois veterinary student Megan Bloemer has received the first-ever Morrison Swine Innovator Prize, a new award given to veterinary students who want to specialize in swine medicine. The award was presented at the annual Allen D. Leman Swine Conference in St. Paul, MN.

All North American veterinary students with an interest in swine health and production were eligible. Bloemer’s presentation on reducing the risks of disease transmission at truck washes helped her rise to the top among the seven student finalists.  The Bloomington, IL native says her project was an eye-opener.

“I didn’t know a lot about how truck washes worked and the amount of moving parts required prior to this project,” Bloemer says. “What was most interesting for me was the amount of hard work that goes into cleaning these trailers every day and just how critical they are for protecting herd health.”

Bloemer is a third-year veterinary student and hopes to find either a swine production company or swine veterinary clinic where she can add value by interacting with farm staff and improving herd health.

Bloemer received a cash award of $7,500 plus complimentary registration and travel costs to attend the Leman Swine Conference. The Morrison Swine Innovator Prize honors the legacy of the late Bob Morrison, DVM, PhD, MBA, who coordinated the conference for many years. The award is sponsored by leading swine producers, veterinary practices, and industry partners.