MN Impact: Vet Med Researchers Discover New Information To Help Design Effective Airborne Disease Control Programs
Influenza A virus is endemic in pigs and ongoing concern to producers. It has proven extremely difficult to control in part due to the multiple strains that may be co-circulating on a farm and the limited cross-protection current vaccines provide against various strains. Additionally, more information is needed about various transmission routes including aerosols.
What has been done
Faculty at the College of Veterinary Medicine have extensively studied influenza aerosols in lab experiments and in the field. In 2015, due to the HPAI outbreak, researchers were able to get extensive samples from infected turkey farms all over the state, including samples from exhaust fans. Significantly, they uncovered virus particles, in a wide-range of sizes, on surfaces outside the farm implying that given the right conditions aerosols may play a role in the spread of influenza viruses between farms.
The information derived from these studies is important to design effective airborne disease control programs, including mitigation of occupational exposure to people in contact with infected swine and poultry. Significantly, the findings of this study indicate that recommendations provided so far by the CDC to prevent exposure, in people in particular, may not be enough to avoid infection. Results have been shared with Extension educators, poultry producers, government officials, and filtration companies working on improving biosecurity on farms.