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Disinfectants (Chemicals used externally for environmental control)

Editorial Summary (Editorial Overview Text Replicated on Overall Disease page - Foot and Mouth Disease virus)

Foot-and-mouth disease virus is highly resistant to most disinfectants. Acids such as citric acid (0.2% solution), alkalis such as washing soda (sodium carbonate, 4% solution) and acid-containing iodophore disinfectants are effective. Formaldehyde may also be used.

As the virus is sensitive to extremes of pH, both acids (e.g. citric acid) and bases (e.g. caustic soda or sodium hydroxide) may be effective at destroying virus. Their action is enhanced if physical cleaning and detergents are used in combination with the disinfectant as organic material must be penetrated. Higher temperatures may also enhance the cleaning effect.

It is important not to mix acid and alkali disinfectants as their activity against the virus depends on their pH and they will neutralise one another if mixed.

(B47, B58, B207, B209, B217.38.w38, D37.Para132, J39.95.w1, J63.14.w1, J72.41.w1, V.w6, W18.Apl01.sib1, W32.Apl01.sib1, W32.Apl01.sib24, W34.30May01.sib1)

Data Source Notes FMD virus is resistant to:
  • Chemical disinfectants in general (B58).
  • Resistant to phenols and creosols (J63.14.w1, J72.41.w1, B209).
  • Resistant to quaternary ammonium compounds (J72.41.w1, B209).
  • Resistant to alcohol, ether, chloroform, acetone, organic solvents in general (J63.14.w1, B47)

FMD virus is susceptible to:

  • Various acids in formulations with detergents (B209):
    • Sodium metacilicate (B209).
    • Hypochlorites
    • Iodine (B209).
    • Sodium hydroxide (1-2%) (B207)
    • Formalin (1-2%) (B207)
    • Sodium carbonate (washing soda) (Na2CO3) (4%) (J72.41.w1, B207).
  • Acid-containing iodophors.
  • Ortho-phosphoric acid (D37.Para133).
  • Formaldehyde inactivated FMD virus at about 90% per day at pH8, temperature 4C (J39.95.w1).

Only a limited number of disinfectants are approved for use against foot-and-mouth disease virus.

  • Eye protection and full protective clothing should be worn at all times when mixing or spraying disinfectants. (W32.Apl01.sib1).
  • N.B. Do not mix alkaline (e.g. washing soda) with acid (e.g. citric acid) solutions (W32.Apl01.sib1).

Effective disinfectants include:

  • Citric acid BP in 0.2% solution: 20g crystals dissolved in 10 litres of water.
    • pH should be less than pH4
    • Effectiveness increased by the addition of up to 1ml of detergent such as household washing up liquid per litre of solution. (W18.Apl01.sib1, W32.Apl01.sib1).
    • Avoid leaving in contact with galvanised metal for long periods. (W32.Apl01.sib1).
    • Rinse off with clear water after a few minutes (W32.Apl01.sib1).
    • Suitable for disinfection of milking equipment and bulk tanks (W18.Apl01.sib1)
    • Ten percent stock solution may be held in air-tight containers for up to two weeks and diluted before use (W18.Apl01.sib1)
  • Washing soda (sodium carbonate) (Na2CO3) (British Standard 3674 of 1963) in 4% solution: 40g crystals dissolved in one litre of hot water.
    • Effectiveness increased by the addition of up to 1ml of detergent such as household washing up liquid per litre of solution.
    • May corrode metal
    • May damage painted surfaces
    • (J72.41.w1, W32.Apl01.sib1).
    • Up to 3ml detergent may be added per litre of disinfectant (W18.Apl01.sib1)
    • Suitable for use in animal pens and similar (W18.Apl01.sib1)
    • pH should be over pH 10.
  • Formalin 10% solution containing at least 34% formaldehyde. Used mixed 1:9 with water. (W18.Apl01.sib1)
    • For spraying on hay, straw, bedding and similar materials (W18.Apl01.sib1)
    • Formaldehyde preparations have been used to disinfect feedstuffs, clothing and other materials which would be damaged by sodium carbonate solution (D37.Para132).
    • Formaldehyde gas, produced by combining formalin and potassium permanganate, is extremely hazardous. (W18.Apl01.sib1)
    • Formaldehyde, 3 g/m3 for 12 hours at room temperature and 85 - 90% relative humidity (J3.143.w9).
  • Ortho-phosphoric acid 0.3% solution
    • Improved effectiveness if up to 3ml of detergent is added per litre of solution.
    • pH should be less than pH4
    • Suitable for disinfection of milking equipment and bulk tanks (W18.Apl01.sib1)
  • Sulphamic acid in 0.2% solution (1:500 dilution rate)
    • Stable in solution
    • Made up by adding 10 grams to five litres of water
    • Improved effectiveness if up to 3ml detergent is added per litre of solution
    • Suitable for disinfection of milking equipment and bulk tanks
    • Particularly suitable for disinfection of metal, painted surfaces, plastics, rubber.
    • (W18.Apl01.sib1, W34.30May01.sib1)
  • Ethylene oxide 570 g/m3 at 52 C for 160 minutes. (J3.143.w9)
  • Salt or phosphate salt mixture: FMDV in sausage casings (intestines) was inactivated by dry treating with salt (sodium chloride) or phosphate salt mixture (86.5% sodium chloride, 2.8% sodium phosphate Na2PO4, 10.7% sodium hydrogen phosphate (NA2HPO4) and storage at 20 C for 30 days. Virus was still detectable in a few samples after treating and storage at 4 C for 30 days. 
  • Information on making up and using acid and alkaline infections is contained on the MAFF Website: (W32.Apl01.sib24)

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