High levels of dust and microorganisms are known to be associated with animal confinement rearing facilities. Many of the microorganisms are carried by dust particles, thus providing an excellent vector for horizontal disease transmission between birds.
Two environmentally controlled rooms containing female broiler breeder pullets (n = 300) were used to evaluate the effectiveness of an electrostatic space charge system (ESCS) in reducing airborne dust and gram-negative bacteria levels over an 8-wk period (starting when the birds were 10 wk old). The ESCS was used to evaluate the effectiveness of reducing airborne microorganism levels by charging airborne dust particles and causing the particles to be attracted to grounded surfaces (i.e., walls, floor, equipment). The use of the ESCS resulted in a 64% mean reduction in gram-negative bacteria. Airborne dust levels were reduced an average of 37% over a 1-wk period in the experimental room compared with the control room on the basis of samples taken every 10 min. The reductions of airborne dust and bacteria in this study are comparable with earlier results obtained with the ESCS in commercial hatching cabinets and experimental caged layer rooms, suggesting the system could also be applied to other types of enclosed animal housing.