Heat Treatment to Decontaminate Poultry Houses


Dr. E. R. Benson of the University of Delaware conducted a study on decontamination of poultry houses using heat. The project #F073 was funded by the USPOULTRY Foundation with a grant from Peco Foods. A Salmonella serotype and LaSota strain of Newcastle disease were used as indicator organisms. Heat treatment was applied for at least three continuous days at temperatures ranging from 100 to 120 F.

The study demonstrated that to be effective, heat treatment should be applied to houses only after removal of carcasses and litter since it was not possible to consistently attain temperatures which inactivated Newcastle disease virus in the presence of four inches of litter.

Maintaining the required temperature for at least three continuous days during winter may represent a problem in other than well-insulated and sealed buildings. Given that both Newcastle disease and avian influenza are more prevalent during winter months, to be effective, heat treatment will require considerable energy input even in sealed houses under optimal conditions. 

To evaluate the effectiveness of heat treatment following depopulation of an infected flock, appropriate sampling and laboratory assay will be required to confirm that pathogens have been inactivated before re-stocking.