Avian Influenza Biosecurity

Avian Influenza (Fowl Plague), also referred to as bird flu, is a potentially devastating disease, predominantly of chickens and turkeys, although the virus can also affect game birds (pheasants, partridge and quail), ratites (ostrich and emu), psittacine and passerine birds.


Avian Influenza is caused by an orthomyxovirus, or influenza virus and can survive for considerable lengths of time outside of the host with birds being infected through contact with other birds, mechanical vectors such as vehicles and equipment and personnel travelling between farms, markets and abattoirs.

Virkon™ Disinfectant Technologies, at LANXESS, specialize in the environmental control of highly infectious diseases and its Virkon™ S disinfectant has been independently tested and approved effective against Avian Influenza virus strains:

Poultry DiseaseVirus FamilyStrainDilution Rate

Avian Influenza H7N9
Avian Influenza H7N1
Avian Influenza H5N1


OrthomyxoviridaeInfluenza Type A virus1:200
1:320
1:800

The independently tested and approved dilution rates of Virkon™ S clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of the product for killing the Avian Influenza virus.  However, in practice you must bear in mind real farm conditions, in particular the heavy organic challenges and broad spectrum of other potential disease-causing organisms.  For this reason, LANXESS recommends that the above disinfectants are used at a standard dilution rate of 1:100.

Preventative Biosecurity

When considering an effective continuous biosecurity program, it is essential to bear in mind that the Avian Influenza virus can survive for considerable lengths of time outside of the host and birds can be infected through a number of vectors:

- Contact with other birds (wild birds such as ducks & geese)

- Contact with mechanical vectors such as vehicles and equipment

- Contact with personnel through touch, clothing or footwear


1.    Establish a secure Biosecurity perimeter to ensure that the site is limited to one combined entrance and exit, providing a means of contact between the site entrance and the farm house/office e.g. a direct phone line, bell or whistle for essential callers.
2.    Minimize the number of visitors and where possible provide farm only boots and overalls.
3.    Put a shower-in policy into place and provide hand-washing facilities.
4.    Provide foot and wheel dip baths filled with an approved disinfectant (Virkon™ S at a dilution rate of 1:100) and ensure that the disinfectant is changed on a daily basis.
5.    Ensure that all vehicles have been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected  prior to arrival at site.
6.    Only allow essential vehicles to enter with all others (staff, delivery & service vehicles etc.) being kept outside the Biosecurity perimeter.
7.    Disinfect Loading Bays, Paths and Roadways with an approved disinfectant (Virkon™ S at a dilution rate of 1:100).

Poultry Housing/Barns and Farm Building Cleansing and Disinfection

1.    Personnel must be provided with and wear personal protective equipment prior to commencing the cleaning and disinfection procedure. The equipment should comprise of; respirator face mask, eye protection, coveralls, heavy duty rubber gloves and rubber or polyurethane boots.
2.    Remove all equipment and dry clean the inside of the building/housing.
3.    Dispose of all litter and debris as far away from the building as possible.
4.    Apply a heavy duty cleaner (Biosolve™ Plus at 1:100) to all internal surfaces at low pressure and leave for 20-30 minutes to help penetrate & lift dirt, muck etc.
5.    Using clean water, pressure wash all surfaces.
6.    Disinfect the drinking water delivery system within the building/house/barn with Virkon™ S 1:100 leaving it for 30 minutes and then flushing the system through with clean water.
7.    All equipment removed from the building must be thoroughly cleaned (Biosolve™ at 1:100 and left for 20-30 minutes), & then rinsed with clean water prior to being disinfected (Virkon™ S at 1:100).
8.    Using either a knapsack sprayer or pressure washer apply disinfectant solution (Virkon™ S at 1:100) to all internal surfaces, paying particular attention to corners, cracks and seams. Allow surfaces to thoroughly dry before replacement of disinfected equipment.
9.    The farm buildings, loading bays, paths etc. should then be treated with disinfectant, leaving it to soak for at least 30 minutes before rinsing with clean water.
10.    Once the building/housing has been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, replace equipment and lay new bedding if appropriate. The building may now be fogged with disinfectant (Virkon™ S at 1:100) to help prevent/eliminate any infection that may have been brought in with these new items.
11.    Put an effective rodent control programme into place.
12.    Bird proof your poultry house - block up holes or inlets where wild birds can gain entry to your poultry shed (see "Protecting poultry against wild birds" below).
13.    Provide staff training and raise awareness of biosecurity issues.

Effective cleansers and disinfectants are essential to the success of the continuous biosecurity programme for prevention against Avian Influenza. Use LANXESS heavy-duty cleaner Biosolve™ Plus  to clean buildings and equipment. Then disinfect using one of LANXESS independently tested disinfectants such as Virkon™ S, effective at high and low temperatures, in challenging ‘real-farm’ conditions, with proven biocidal activity against viruses, bacteria, and fungal disease-causing organisms.

Protecting Poultry Against Wild Birds

Wild birds should not be killed to fight bird flu, put an effective control and surveillance system into place to ensure that contact between wild birds and poultry is avoided or at least monitored.

Ensure that poultry pens and drinking water supplies cannot be contaminated by migrating birds. If this cannot be done, then make the drinking water safe, by appropriate treatment, if necessary. Following the thorough cleaning and disinfection of the water system, Virkon™ S, at a dilution of 1:1000, can be safely added to drinking water at the header tank or through a dosing system. This precaution will help prevent the water supply from acting as a vector for the transmission of this highly contagious disease.