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Email Content: Poultry Industry News, Comments and more by Simon M. Shane

Valuable Epidemiologic Data Emerging from Tönnies Plant Study


Following the extensive outbreak of COVID-19 involving 1,500 workers in the large Tönnies Group hog plant near Gutersloh in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.  The plant located near Rheda-Wiedenbruck, a few miles from the center of Gutersloh was evaluated by the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research. 


The study disclosed that the outbreak began with one employee in May.  The infection spread rapidly in the dismantling area operated at 50 F.  Air was continually recirculated in a closed system without filtration or either anti-viral or anti-bacterial treatment. Under the conditions in the area subjected  to review, it was determined that the virus could spread for up to twenty six feet, far exceeding the six to nine foot distancing suggested for line workers that in most cases is impossible to achieve in practice.


The plant recently reopened with major modifications to the HVAC system.  Precautions that have been introduced include testing all workers twice per week and provision of PPE. The major overhaul in ventilation improved the circulation rate and ultraviolet decontamination as installed in the HVAC installation.


Epidemiologic investigation by the Helmholtz Center demonstrated that housing of workers had little impact on the incidence rate. The studies conducted at the Tönnies plant clearly indicate the need to review the integrity of air supply, especially in areas operated at low temperature and where workers congregate, such as in change and break rooms.


Dry hydrogen peroxide generators can inactivate viruses suspended on particles less than one micron in diameter.  Free-standing units are suitable for areas where social distancing is impossible.  Other units are available for installation in central HVAC systems.  For available equipment in the U.S., click on to the Synexis logo on the right side of the Welcome page.

Copyright © 2020 Simon M. Shane