Swine influenza and on-farm biosecurity

The following recommendations are designed to help pig farmers protect their herds against disease.

1. Establish, implement and enforce strict sick leave policies for on-farm workers with influenza-like illnesses

  • An influenza-like illness is a fever (or feverish), AND a cough and/fatigue in the absence of any other explanation for symptoms.
  • Encourage all farm workers, especially those in close contact with the animals, to notify the owner immediately if they develop an influenza-like illness.
  • Prevent anyone showing these symptoms from coming to work for seven days after onset of symptoms, provided they have recovered.
  • Recommend that people with these symptoms see a doctor.
  • Sick farm workers should inform their doctor of their contact with pigs to obtain a medical certificate.

2. Influenza vaccination of workers

  • Recommend that all workers in the pig industry (and family members who live on-site on piggeries) are vaccinated against the seasonal influenza virus every year.

3. Limit visitors to farms

  • Maintain a register which visitors have to sign indicating that:      
    • they have showered and changed clothes since their last exposure to pigs
    • they are not experiencing fever or any flu-like symptoms.
  • Stop unnecessary visitors to the piggery.

4. Follow other generally accepted bio-security practices

  • Routinely clean clothing and footwear. 
    Implement and enforce the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Where influenza is suspected in a herd, workers contacting sick animals should wear protective masks (surgical masks or preferably P2/N95 masks ("respirators")), eye protection and disposable gloves as a minimum.
  • Wash hands with soap and water or clean with alcohol-based hand-rub after removal of PPE.
  • Control entry to the farm.
  • Implement a policy which does not permit staff to own or work with other pigs.
  • Keep non-farm vehicles outside of farm or at least their drivers inside their vehicles.
  • Assess the health of any pigs coming onto the property, use quarantine principles and prevent those assessed as a high risk from entering.
  • Regularly inspect your herd for unusual signs of disease and report any problems to your veterinarian.
  • If you suspect the presence of this disease in pigs, you must report it to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 or the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.

Further information