Antimicrobial Products to Disinfect Poultry and Other Facilities
Against Avian (Bird) Flu
Current as of March 2007
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.
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
Avian Flu (Pandemic Flu) - This is the official EPA Web site for information on pandemic flu and avian influenza.
Pandemicflu.gov - This is the official U.S. government Web site for information on pandemic flu and avian influenza.
Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) - US Department of Agriculture's link to assist in managing citizens' concerns about avian flu; also available is USDA's 24/7 food safety virtual representative tool, which is regularly updated on this topic. For those without web access, consumers can call the USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854).
Pandemic Influenza: Worldwide Preparedness - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) site contains comprehensive, up-to-date information on all aspects of pandemic, avian, and seasonal flu.
Avian Influenza (AI): A Threat to U.S. Poultry - The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), is responsible for protecting and promoting U.S. agricultural health, administering the Animal Welfare Act, and carrying out wildlife damage management activities. The site describes avian flu viruses which affect poultry, either low pathogenicity (LPAI) or high pathogenicity (HPAI) based on the severity of the illnesses they cause, among other information.
Avian Influenza - The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations leads international efforts to defeat hunger, serving both developed and developing countries. The site contains specific information on disinfectants and procedures to use against avian flu, noting that soapy water and detergents are often the first choice. See the site for a detailed chart of items to be disinfected and procedures.
Ten things you need to know about pandemic influenza and Avian influenza - The World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations specialized agency for health, provides detailed information on numerous aspects of pandemic influenza and avian flu worldwide.
Avian Influenza: Protecting Flocks, Protecting People - The site is a joint project of the National Chicken Council (NCC), National Turkey Federation (NTF), and Egg Safety Center (ESC); it addresses public concern about avian flu and contamination from poultry.