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Cleaning and Disinfection of Anthrax-Contaminated Sites and Materials

This page is part of the Guidance Document Repository (GDR).

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Note: Current research indicates that the use of lime (e.g. whitewash or other calcium products) is contraindicated for use as a disinfectant for anthrax-contaminated sites. Therefore, where possible, avoid using these products as a disinfectant for anthrax sites, carcasses, or materials. Provincial legislation, however, may supersede this recommendation.

Wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when dealing with cleaning and disinfection (C&D) products. Read the label of these products for personal protection information.

If using sprayers for disinfecting sites and materials outside, be aware of wind direction when spraying to avoid unnecessary exposure to disinfectants.

1. Treating Contaminated Soil

If possible, remove soil at the site of an anthrax carcass to a depth of 20 cm, and incinerate or heat treat. Because this method is not practical in most situations, disinfect with 12.5% formalin solution (5% formaldehyde) at 50 litres/square meter.

Note: C&D is not required if an animal died at pasture and the carcass was disposed of on-site without being moved.

2. Cleaning Equipment

Other disinfectants with activity against anthrax spores include chlorine – a 6% household bleach solution diluted at a one part bleach to two parts water; and peracetic acid at a 3% solution.

Autoclaving, if available, is also an effective means for sterilizing equipment.

3. Treatment of Structures

When an animal dies within a structure, disinfection of contaminated surfaces requires the following three-step approach.

a) Preliminary disinfection

b) Cleaning

c) Final Disinfection

Caution: Avoid skin contact or inhalation when using disinfectants. Follow label handling instructions.

4. Treating Clothing, Boots, Tools

For more information on C&D disinfectant products, please refer to the Compendium of Veterinary Products.

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