Survival of intestinal spirochaete strains from chickens in the presence of disinfectants and in faeces held at different temperatures

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)639-643
Journal / PublicationAvian Pathology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes


This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of some commonly used disinfectants in inactivating the pathogenic avian intestinal spirochaetes Brachyspira intermedia and Brachyspira pilosicoli, and to examine spirochaete survival in chicken caecal faeces held at 4°C, 25°C or 37°C. Six disinfectants were evaluated at their recommended working concentrations: alkaline salts, quaternary ammonium, iodine as an iodophor, chlorine from a chlorine-release agent, glutaraldehyde and hydrogen peroxide. All but alkaline salts inactivated two different concentrations of both spirochaete species in less than 1 min in the presence of organic matter. Both spirochaete species at three different cell concentrations survived in caecal faeces at 37°C for between 2 and 17 h. B. intermedia tended to survive for longer than B. pilosicoli, but the maximum survival time for both species at 4°C was only 72 to 84 h. Hence, avian intestinal spirochaetes are rapidly inactivated by several common disinfectants, and their survival time in chicken caecal faeces is much less than has been reported for porcine intestinal spirochaetes in porcine faeces. It should be relatively easy to break the cycle of infection between batches of laying birds by resting sheds for a few days, and by using disinfectants on any residual faecal matter.