THE MERCK VETERINARY MANUAL
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Cleaning and Disinfection Practices

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Cleaning and disinfection of animal housing facilities is a highly effective way to reduce the pathogen load in buildings, minimize the disease challenge to animals that occupy the space, and promote animal health. Effective cleaning and disinfection involves removal of organic matter from surfaces with hot water and a high-pressure sprayer. The facility should be permitted to dry completely, and disinfectant applied to cleaned surfaces. Animals should be placed in the facility only after the disinfectant has been allowed to dry completely. Application of detergents and foaming agents to surfaces before cleaning is recommended to improve the removal of organic matter and debris. The selection and use of disinfectants is based on factors including mechanism of action, presence of organic matter, water quality, pathogens, dilution rates, corrosive properties, and safety. Disinfectant products should be rotated to prevent microorganisms from becoming resistant to the action of a particular disinfectant. After cleaning and disinfection, access to facilities should be restricted to avoid contamination by employees. If entry is required, employees should wear clothing and footwear that is free of contamination from feces and dust.

Last full review/revision July 2011 by Darryl Ragland, DVM, PhD

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