Assessment and mitigation of contamination risks: critical knowledge to reduce diseases and increase biosecurity compliance

Principal Investigator

Jean-Pierre Vaillancourt, University of Montreal

Year the work was done


Overall objective

  • Determine the level of contamination after biosecurity breaches at barn entrances and evaluation of sanitation procedures to mitigate them and determine how pathogen loads are affected by current barn sanitation procedures recommended by the poultry industry.


  • It is possible to prevent cross-contamination of areas by effectively changing boots.
  • Stepping back on the contaminated side (or where boots were prior to being changed), does significantly contaminate boots and the floor in the clean zone.
  • Not changing boots at all between areas significantly increases floor contamination level of the clean area.
  • There is no dilution effect, either on boots or floor, of the contamination after walking 10 steps.
  • Current decontamination procedures, as performed in the field, do reduce floor contamination
  • Cleaning procedures differ between specific pathogens.


  • It is recommended that producers use the cleaning procedure best suited for the pathogen outbreak they are having in their barn.
  • Allowing sufficient time post-sanitation is of great benefit to pathogen reduction.
  • Integration of findings in training material aimed at improving biosecurity compliance and practices.
  • Barn designs should focus on creating conditions to facilitate changing boots between areas (e.g. sufficient space and having a physical barrier between areas).

This research applies to

Breeders, Broilers, Layers, Turkeys

This research was supported by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Poultry Industry Council and University of Montreal.