Footbaths, as a single tool, are not capable of preventing pathogen introduction into commercial flocks, a California-based study concluded, according to a report from Meatingplace.

Researchers at the University of California-Davis gathered data via questionnaire from productive units across the state and used it to design two experiments. In the first, they tested the effectiveness of footbaths in inactivating highly pathogenic (HP) and low pathogenic (LP) avian influenza viruses on rubber boots.

“Surprisingly, quaternary ammonia- and quaternary ammonia plus glutaraldehyde-based footbaths were not able to eliminate live HPAIV (H5N8) and LPAIV (H6N2) particles on boots, while a chlorine-based granulated disinfectant was able to destroy the virus at contact,” they found.

In the second experiment, the researchers investigated the persistence of HPAIV (H5N8) and LPAIV (H6N2) in bedding material and feces obtained from turkey, broiler and egg-layer commercial productive units. Results showed that HPAIV (H5N8) was more persistent than LPAIV (H6N2) in layer feces and bedding material obtained from commercial broilers and turkeys.

“Further research in biosecurity practices such as footbath preparation and maintenance and better understanding of the mechanism of the increased persistence of AIV is warranted in order to identify effective litter treatments that destroy live virus in bedding material,” the authors said.

The study’s abstract can be viewed here.