E.coli: Fewer antibiotics means more biosecurity

The threat of E.coli infection in poultry farms has never been far away. It continues to be one of the most important sources of economic and welfare problems in poultry production.
calendar icon 7 December 2018
clock icon 3 minute read

While at the same time, the increased pressure on farmers and vets to abandon antibiotics for the sake of human health, is taking away the most effective approach in the vet’s anti-E.coli toolbox. Remains vaccination and biosecurity. Moreover vaccines will only be effective if biosecurity is at a high standard. It is therefore not over the top, to say that preventing E.coli infections is still very much a hygiene matter.

E.coli infections hurts any type of poultry production including at hatchery level, young and adult animals, broilers and layers, causing mortality or just slower growth (lower weight). Invariably, the immediate cost for the diagnostics, the treatment and so on, increase the burden. As always prevention is better than curing.

Biosecurity is above all about having procedures and strictly complying with them. This is not a paper tiger, although initially procedures may sound troublesome. It requires a true management conviction in order to get everybody in and to be implemented successfully: it only needs one person or one activity being non-conform and the effort of all others is in vain (the weakest chain…).

The weakest chain should definitely not be the products used. Remember a cleaning agent is not a disinfectant and vice-versa. Not because one could not formulate a cleaning agent to become bactericidal as well...The point is in the procedure: a good cleaning agent is taking virtually all dirt away and should pass first. Only after very thorough cleaning the efficacious disinfectant comes in and kills any E.coli and other pathogens remaining on the surface.

Halamid® is such disinfectant. For surface disinfection, using a solution of 0.5 % in water effectively kills E.coli, protecting the birds from attracting an infection. Likewise people and equipment entering a farm should be screened and wheels/boots need disinfection. Also think about the treatment of drinking water with Halamid®. E.coli is endemic worldwide and therefore will definitely be found in all surface waters. In all cases allow sufficient contact time (in relation to the concentration applied) with 5 minutes being the absolute minimum to render E.coli harmless.

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