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Swine Worker Awareness and Behavior Regarding Prevention of Zoonotic Influenza Transmission

Rabinowitz, Peter, Fowler, Heather, Odofin, Lynda Osadepe, Messinger, Chelsea, Sparer, Judy, Vegso, Sally
Journal of agromedicine 2013 v.18 no.4 pp. 304-311
agromedicine, commercial farms, disease transmission, equipment, farm labor, guidelines, influenza, large farms, risk, surveys, swine, vaccination, zoonoses, Midwestern United States
A convenience survey of swine workers on large and small commercial farms in the Northeast and Midwest United States regarding zoonotic influenza awareness and precautions was conducted. Workers reported low levels of concern regarding the risk of contracting influenza from swine, and were generally not aware of national guidelines for influenza prevention. Use of personal protective equipment (PPE) varied by task, N95 respirator use was rare, and no workers were enrolled in respirator programs. Reported influenza vaccination coverage was greater than the national average in 2009–2010, but declined in 2010–2011. Workers on large farms were more likely to use PPE in some tasks and to report using more precautions when pigs appeared ill. Although reporting low levels of concern regarding zoonotic influenza and low adherence to national influenza guidelines, swine workers reported making task-based and risk-based decisions about use of PPE, suggesting opportunities for enhanced prevention of zoonotic disease transmission.