On August 3, 2018, China reported its first case of African Swine Fever (ASF). The first outbreak of the deadly disease (found in the country’s northeast region), was a wake-up call for the North American pork industry. As expected, China immediately implemented a number of restrictions and management tactics to contain the spread of the disease. However, as history has shown, despite good management practices, the spread of disease can still occur – even across oceans.
Before major disease outbreaks like bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) and avian influenza (AI), biosecurity practices were relatively basic. However, through the aforementioned disease outbreaks, the swine and poultry industries have learned that biosecurity programs are ever-changing, living procedures that must be multi-dimensional in nature.
As new findings provide evolving information about disease transmission, the industry must change or “tweak” their current biosecurity programs in an effort to stay ahead of emerging viral and bacterial pathogens. This was never more evident than with the introduction of PEDv in 2013. The inclusion of pathogen mitigation for feed in biosecurity programs was a paradigm shift for many producers. Up until this point, feed as a vehicle of disease had been overlooked – or dare we say, completely neglected. Through research conducted by Dr. Scott Dee at Pipestone Applied Research, the industry quickly learned that complete feed could transmit pathogens (Dee et al. 2014), and moreover, certain feed ingredients were more likely than others serve as a carrier (Dee et al. 2015).1,2 Producers then found themselves scrambling to find ways to mitigate this newly identified risk.
As the calendar pages turn and winter nears, it’s a good time to review biosecurity programs and make any needed adjustments. It is recommended to bi-annually complete an evaluation or audit of all practices to decrease the risk of pathogen introduction into a facility. Things for an operation to consider include:
Mitigating this risk of feed being a source of infection requires a comprehensive approach. First and foremost, the focus should be on preventing pathogens from ever entering a facility entirely. Proper sourcing of ingredients, pest control and visitor/employee protocols are important aspects of keeping pathogens at bay. Minimizing pathogen growth and cross-contamination within a facility takes proper handling of dust, controlling flow of employees and moisture management during ingredient and feed storage.
Once feed has left the mill, the challenge has only begun. Recontamination of even heat-treated feeds is a potential risk. Knowing the health status for farms can allow for sequencing deliveries to reduce risk. Certain feed mitigants may provide residual protection for feed. Chemical mitigation can provide residual protection of feeds all the way to consumption. Sal CURB® ASF Liquid Antimicrobial is a feed disinfectant, labeled to maintain feed and feed ingredients Salmonella-negative for 21 days. Therefore, Sal CURB should be used as part of a comprehensive feed biosecurity program.
Use the coming cold temperatures as a reminder to re-evaluate your biosecurity plan and ensure your system is prepared for the pathogen challenges which can present themselves during these times. To learn more about pathogen control and incorporating Sal CURB into your feed biosecurity plan, visit Kemin.com/AreYouReady.
1Dee, S., T. Clement, A. Schelkopf, J. Nerem, D. Knudsen, J. Christopher-Henninigs, and E. Nelson. 2014. An evaluation of contaminated complete feed as a vehicle for porcine epidemic diarrhea virus infection of naïve pigs following consumption via natural feeding behavior: Proof of concept. BMC Veterinary Research. 10.1:176.
2Dee, S., C. Neil, T. Clement, A. Singrey, J. Christopher-Hennings, and E. Nelson. 2015. An evaluation of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus survival in individual feed ingredients in the presence or absence of a liquid antimicrobial. Porcine Health Management. 1:9.
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