"I expect this to be recognizable for many livestock farmers." For Arjan Wermink, HyCare specialist at MS Schippers, preventing the spread of germs is his job. Not strictly in humans, but in a pig population. Wermink is closely involved in the implementation of the HyCare method in pig farming. Entrepreneurs can improve animal health and results structurally with relatively simple hygiene measures. “The world now sees how important it is to prevent the spread of viruses and that people are the main cause. I see a lot of parallels with our HyCare-method. ”
This used to be different, Wermink recalls. For example, he often received critical, sometimes laughable comments; “There you have Arjan the “hand pump man”. But I think corona shows that hygiene is the most important thing in the fight against pathogens; both bacteria and viruses.”
Colleague Nick Paridaans, who focuses on hygiene and HyCare in poultry farming, also sees similarities. “Just like with corona, good health starts with personal hygiene. Everyone enters the stable clean, this means: take a shower and wear company-clothing.” In addition, it is important that within a company materials remain within the same department. MS Schippers has introduced the color system on a large scale in livestock farming. In this color system, materials (and the different departments) have their own color to prevent mistakes and cross-contamination.
Wermink emphasizes the importance of "departmental isolation". Each department must have its own footwear and materials, we need to clean and disinfect our hands before entering and we need to strive to a complete “all-in/all-out” system. "Everything is aimed at reducing disease pressure and preventing diseases from spreading." With this being said, Wermink sees major similarities with the national approach to corona. He also sees that people struggle with these simple rules and that they are not always 100% aware of the risks. "The advantage of HyCare is that there are strict protocols and appropriate tools in place, so that we do not fall back into old habits."
Both experts see that many entrepreneurs in pig and poultry farming have now taken steps towards optimal hygiene and biosecurity. Nevertheless, Paridaans is worried, especially about entrants and trucks. Some companies practice good hygiene by regularly cleaning trucks and using wheel arch disinfection before driving onto the yard. “But that is often still not the case. The feed hose is also a critical point.”
Livestock farmers can invest in cleaning and disinfection. But they also have to remain aware of everything and everyone that enters the company. "Just like with corona, it is important that everyone practices optimal hygiene and biosecurity."
Viruses are the smallest possible life forms, they are up to 100 times smaller than bacteria such as E. coli. They consist of a cell nucleus and a sheath, and they need other cells to grow. In pig farming, dreaded viruses include PRRS, Influenza, PCV2 (Circo), Classical and African Swine Fever, PED and Aujeszky's disease. In poultry farming, NCD, IB, AI, Gumboro and ILT are also some commonly known viruses.
Depending on the type of virus, they can spread through particles in the breath, saliva, manure, urine and sperm. The degree of infectivity and consequences for the animal differs for each virus.
Animals can easily introduce and spread a virus, but it also passes through people and objects that are contaminated with dirt or other material . An adequate vaccine is also available for some viruses, but as we know, antibiotics are not effective against viruses.
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