The bench entry system is an additional layer of biosecurity to lower the risk of pathogen transmission from contaminated footwear and ante-rooms. In human medicine, fluorescing materials have been used to measure and compare environmental contamination with alternative protocols for removal of personal protective equipment. The objective of this study was to determine if the addition of a bench entry system at a commercial swine facility with a shower lowers the risk of personnel introducing environmental contamination, as simulated by use of a fluorescent powder.
The study was conducted at a Midwest commercial sow farm with 4,000 breeding females. Personnel were required to shower into and out of the facilities each day, but a bench entry system was not used. The showers were located so that personnel were required to pass through them to enter the facilities. The area prior to the showers was considered dirty and the area after the showers was considered clean. The first part of the dirty side was comprised of a doorway through which personnel entered from the outside. The employees would first walk down the hall and hand their lunches and personal items through the office window and then sit down to remove their shoes. The shoes were placed on a shoe rack next to the office window. Directly ahead of the outside door was another door, which lead to the shower hall. After the employees removed their shoes, they walked down the shower hall and entered their respective shower. Normal shower protocols for this farm included removing their clothes, placing all personal items inside a locker, and taking a thorough shower. Employees would then dry off and dress in clothing and boots provided on the clean side of the shower.
Fluorescent powder was used to assess the bench entry system by simulating environmental contamination carried on the footwear of personnel entering a commercial swine farm. On each of ten days, four female employees entered the premises, stepped through the fluorescent powder, performed bench entry procedures, and showered into the farm. For ten additional replicates, the bench was removed and regular farm protocols were followed. The fluorescent powder contamination was evaluated with a grid system at four sampling points including before the bench, after the bench, before the shower, and after the shower. Statistical analysis was conducted to determine if there was a difference in the number of contaminated grid cells found at each sampling between the treatment groups.
Fluorescent powder was found after the shower on two study days in which the bench was removed but none when the bench was in place. There was a significant difference in contamination found directly after the bench between days with bench entry and days that the bench was removed, but this was not observed at any of the other sampling points.
A bench entry system may decrease the risk that pathogens reach the clean side of the shower, but improved protocols and additional layers of biosecurity are needed.
Anderson AV, Fitzgerald C, Baker K, et al. Comparison of shower-in and shower-in plus bench entry protocols for prevention of environmental contamination due to personnel entry in a commercial swine facility. J Swine Health Prod. 2018;26(4):192-199.