To assess the behavior and precautions that swine workers take during suspected influenza outbreaks in swine, six commercial swine farms in the Midwest U.S. region were visited when influenza outbreaks were suspected in herds during the fall/winter of 2012-2013. Use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and type of task performed by swine workers were recorded based on farm representative reports.
Between one to two workers were working on the day of each visit and spent approximately 25 minutes performing work-related tasks that placed them in close contact with the swine. The most common tasks reported were walking the aisles (27%), handling pigs (21%), and handling equipment (21%). The most common PPE were boots (100%), heavy rubber gloves (75%), and dedicated nondisposable clothing (74%). Use of N95 respirators was reported at three farms. Hand hygiene practices were common in most of the farms, but reportedly performed for only 20% to 25% of tasks.