Jump to main content.

Antimicrobial Products to Disinfect Poultry and Other Facilities Against Avian (Bird) Flu

Current as of March 2007

Este Web page está disponible en español

Poultry farmers in the U.S. are aware of the spread of avian influenza in Asia and Europe. This Web page provides information about disinfectants that are available to help prevent the spread of this disease in this country. Avian influenza, which is sometimes called bird flu, is an infection that occurs naturally and chiefly in birds. It is caused by influenza (flu) viruses. Infections with these viruses can occur in humans but the risk from avian influenza is generally low to most people, because the viruses do not usually infect humans. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there have been approximately 275 confirmed human cases reported in Asia and Europe since 1997. The World Health Organization (WHO) maintains a cumulative list of these cases. Exit EPA disclaimer

Further, according to CDC, if there is an outbreak of avian influenza among poultry, "there is a possible risk to people who have direct or close contact with infected birds or with surfaces that have been contaminated with secretions and excretions from infected birds."

EPA registers pesticide products, including disinfectants. Currently, approximately 100 disinfectant products are registered and intended for use against avian influenza A viruses on hard, non-porous surfaces. These products are typically used by the poultry industry to disinfect their facilities. The label will indicate that the product is effective against "avian influenza A" and specifies the sites (e.g., poultry houses and farm premises) for application of the product to kill or inactivate the avian influenza virus (For more information on how EPA regulates pesticide products, including disinfectants, see Registering Pesticides).

Influenza A Viruses

Influenza A viruses can infect humans, birds, and other animals. Influenza A viruses are classified by subtype on the basis of the two main surface glycoproteins (proteins), hemagglutinin (H) and neuraminidase (N). Some subtypes of influenza A are H1N1, H1N2, and H3N2 viruses. Avian influenza A viruses are commonly referred to as “low pathogenic” or “highly pathogenic.” Pathogenic means disease-causing. The H5N1 strain that is the cause of avian outbreaks in Asia and portions of Europe is considered to be a highly pathogenic form of this virus.

In a limited number of cases, the H5N1 strain of the virus has been shown to cause infections or flu in humans. These recent infections have raised concerns among health officials in the United States and globally. Most cases have been linked to close contact with infected poultry.

Current information on the H5N1 strain of the virus, which has been reported in Asia and Europe, as well as detailed questions and answers about avian flu, are available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Web site.

Although there are no antimicrobial products registered specifically against the H5N1 subtype of avian influenza A virus, EPA believes based on available scientific information that the currently registered avian influenza A products will be effective against the H5N1 strain and other strains.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides guidance for the disinfection of poultry facilities. See USDA's Sanitation Performance Standards Compliance Guide, Sec. 381.58-381.60 for the guidelines.

Pesticide Products for Avian (Bird) Flu

Related Links

Publications | Glossary | A-Z Index | Jobs

Local Navigation

Jump to main content.