Assessment of disinfectant performance in chicken cages using coliphages

Sonia L.M. Fankem, Lisbeth Echevarría-Núñez, Kelley Riley, Charles P. Gerba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


To control the spread of avian flu (influenza) and other viruses of concern among commercial flocks, it is essential that proper disinfection procedures be developed along with methods for assessing their performance. Such methods must be rapid and inexpensive. Coliphages were used as indicators to demonstrate the efficacy of quaternary ammonium compounds and chlorine bleach for the inactivation of viruses in chicken cages. The concentration of indigenous coliphages in chicken litter was found to be 104-107 per gram and from 0 to 8,500 per 100 cm2 of floor surface. To assess the effectiveness of the disinfectants, floor samples were collected pre and post disinfection. These results indicated that chlorine bleach was more effective than quaternary ammonium compounds in reducing the amount of indigenous coliphages. To obtain better quantitative data, MS-2 coliphage was sprayed onto cage floors, left overnight to dry, and then the surfaces disinfected. Similar results were obtained with both indigenous coliphages and MS-2. There appears to be no significant difference in coliphage reduction by increasing the contact time from 10 to 30 min. To ensure at least a 99.9% reduction of virus at least 236 ml of household bleach per 3.78 l should be used.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-160
Number of pages6
JournalFood and Environmental Virology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2009


  • Coliphages
  • Disinfection
  • Indicator
  • MS-2
  • Poultry farms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Food Science
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Virology


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