New Bolton Center Update: Renovations Under Way

There is good news at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center large animal hospital--cultures have shown the Salmonellae infection that closed the hospital was limited in its scope, and work is proceeding quickly to renovate the hospital so it is more resistant to these types of problems in the future.

Staffers scrubbing offices, treatment rooms, barns, and equipment are wearing Tyvek suits, facemasks, and gloves since the bacteria that caused the hospital to close on May 10 can affect humans. Many steps beyond simple cleaning and disinfecting are being undertaken to allow aisleways, stalls, walls, and floors to be cleaned more thoroughly in the future.

"Since we closed on May 10, we have scrubbed the entire hospital," says Bruce Rappoport, director of the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals. "We have cultured the more than 70 buildings at New Bolton Center as well as our entire animal population--cows, horses, llamas, and pigs." None of the animals were positive.

Rappoport notes that there has been no human case of salmonellosis at New Bolton Center, nor have any of the resident animals come down with the disease.

The culture results revealed that the Salmonellae organism that caused the hospital's closing was confined to a few areas in the Widener Hospital. "The other buildings on campus, like the library and the dairy, as well as our vehicles, were all negative," Rappoport adds. "Thus, our field service can continue to make farm calls as its vehicles operate from an area away from the Widener Hospital. Veterinarians can drop off laboratory work, and our pathology service is accepting animals for necropsy."

He adds that the reproduction clinic at the Hofmann Center is open.

The entire hospital, its barns, and equipment were cleaned and disinfected, stated a press release. After those procedures, the barns were sandblasted. The bare block walls are being disinfected once more prior to being painted.

Dirt floors in the barn stalls were dug up and removed, and a new drainage system is being installed in the barns prior to new concrete floors being poured. "This is a major undertaking," says Rappoport. "We are committed to making the facility as safe for our patients as possible."

"We are continuing with our cleaning efforts and hope to reopen the entire Widener Hospital once it cultures clear. We are aiming for Aug. 2," he says.

New Bolton Center is the large animal facility of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. It is located on about 700 acres in Kennett Square, Pa.

About the Author

Kimberly S. Brown

Kimberly S. Brown was the Publisher/Editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care from June 2008 to March 2010, and she served in various positions at Blood-Horse Publications since 1980.

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