1. Must be safe on humans and animals
Take your time to read the manufacturer’s safety warning on the label of the disinfectant. Some disinfectants like formalin and glutaraldehyde can be toxic to humans and animals and must not be inhaled or accidentally mixed in the drinking water for young birds.
Chlorine and iodine-based products are less harmful to users and the environment.
2. Must be effective in killing pathogens
A good disinfectant must be able to kill most of the stubborn germs. A good disinfectant will reduce one million germs/square area to about 10/sq area. Most QAC+ Glutaraldehyde disinfectants can achieve this efficacy rate. Check this literature on the catalogue.
3. Contact time and residual activity
An ideal disinfectant should be able to kill organisms in less than five minutes of contact time. This, however, can only be achieved following a thorough washing with water and detergent to remove all the organic materials and expose the germs to the effective activity of the disinfectant.
Even after spraying disinfectant, it should retain its killing activity for a longer duration (residual activity).
Alcohol-based products have low residual activity and must be repeatedly used.
4. Wide spectrum of activity
The product must destroy protozoan oocysts and cysts, bacterial spores, fungal spores, and some enveloped viruses that are naturally difficult to eliminate.
Some good examples are oxidisers, halogens, and aldehydes. Phenols have a narrow spectrum of activity.
5. Active in presence of organic matter
Because poultry units are full of dust and organic matter, a good disinfectant that can cross that barrier is ideal.
Most phenolic compounds like cresol, tar derivatives are good in presence of organic matter.
Chlorine, peroxides should be avoided.
6. Must be cost-effective
Instead of focusing on the cost of a disinfectant per litre, figure out the cost per diluted solution. A disinfectant costing Sh1,400/litre at dilution of 0.5 per cent is cheaper than one costing Sh800 at dilution of 1 per cent all other factors remaining constant.
Most common disinfectants are registered at a dilution of 0.5 per cent (1:200) for general disinfection of poultry premises.
7. Must be registered
Is the product tested by well-known laboratories? Is it registered for use in disinfection and sanitisation by known authorities? and in different countries? It is good practice to stick with brands with proven track records.
[The writer is Head Vet at Kenchic, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org]
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