What Kills Equine Herpesvirus 1 (EHV-1) and Equine Flu Virus


Whether you’re here in Western NY or somewhere else in our great country, one of the best ways of celebrating springtime is by spending a day or weekend at a local horse show. For locals, our kickoff begins soon with the Equifest Horse Show at the Hamburg Fairgrounds, followed by: The 49th Annual Eastern Classic Arabian Horse Show!!

So while horse shows are ramping up around the nation, and with recent 2020 confirmed cases in NY, Virginia, Nebraska, Texas and Canada, it’s worth a friendly reminder that EHV-1 remains a highly contagious virus and horses depend on humans to keep them clean and safe.

Today, we’re going to talk about some must-have disinfectants if you are responsible for keeping your horses safe at home or on the road from infectious viral particles like EHV-1 or even Equine Flu. And if you’re dealing with an outbreak, we’ll help you match the right disinfectant to your needs.

So, What Kills Equine Herpesvirus 1 (EHV-1)? Fragrance Free, EPA Registered Disinfectants are preferred. Active ingredients such as: Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide, Potassium Peroxymonosulfate and Quaternary Ammonia are standard go-to’s, each with their own benefits which we will review.

Where to buy EHV-1 disinfectants? If we found online market places that offer shipping, we’ve included affiliate links for you to check pricing and availability. Otherwise, a trip to your local farm/feed store or tractor supply should offer the products or perhaps they can place orders for you. We will provide alternate brand names and the manufacturers contact information for your convenience.

Let’s get into our top picks for disinfecting EHV-1.

EHV-1 Top Pick Disinfectant – While Traveling

Easy, Convenient Disinfectant to Control Spread Through Silent Carriers

When you want a disinfectant on hand for keeping EHV-1 at bay, our Top Pick is -AHP – Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide, here’s why:

  • EASY Wipes or Ready to Use bottle (no mixing required)
  • No harsh fragrance
  • Skin friendly – No Gloves Needed
  • No Mask Needed
  • Fastest Killer of EHV-1 and Equine Flu virus
  • Lowest Environmental Impact

If you’re traveling with your herd, you really have no idea whether or not another horse or piece of equipment is hosting EHV-1 viral particles. Disinfection won’t get any easier than a ready to use, straight from the bottle disinfection or it’s matching disinfectant wipe.

For quickly wiping down surfaces and equipment we like AHP found in Rescue Products RTU (ready to use). Rescue kills EHV-1 (and many other animal related pathogens) snapshots below:

Rescue – RTU One Step Disinfectant (link to product) – EPA Reg.# 74559-9

  • Kills Equine Herpesvirus type 1 (Strain EHV-1) 1 minute
  • Kills Equine Influenza A Virus (H3N8) (EIV) 30 seconds

Rescue RTU Disinfectant Wipes – (link to product) – EPA Reg.# 74559-10

  • Kills Equine Herpesvirus type 1 (Strain EHV-1) 1 minute
  • Kills Equine Influenza A Virus (H3N8) (EIV) 30 seconds

Clickable Image Links to Products

Bonus: Another great reason to have Rescue RTU on hand is because Rescue kills the two most common fungi spores Microsporum (1 minute) and Trichophyton (30 seconds) which cause ringworm outbreaks in horse populations.

Here are a couple of Rescue’s Approved Label Snippets

label of disinfectant that kills EHV-1 Horse Flu virus
Rescue Kills EHV-1 and More
bacteria that rescue disinfectant kills around horses and other barn animals.
Bacteria that is Killed by Rescue RTU

This is just a snapshot. As you can see, AHP is capable of killing an extensive list of animal pathogens and in a very short amount of contact time. This makes it highly ideal for both home and away.

Rescue RTU is Made By: Virox Technologies

Virox.com | Customer Service Support – 1 800-387-7578

Depending on your geographic location, Rescue RTU may be sold under the names listed below. Some may require dilution (concentrate) while others are ready to use (RTU). Labels will provide instructions. All have the Same EPA Registration Number 74559-9

  • OXY-1 RTU
  • Pre-Empt
  • Triumph
  • Avert
  • Peroxcide
  • REScue Concentrate (requires dilution)
  • INTERVention Farm Animal Care Disinfectant Cleaner & Deodorizer
  • INTERVention Animal Husbandry Disinfectant Cleaner & Deodorizer

Products containing accelerated hydrogen peroxide disinfectants AHP - Rescue RTU alternate names
AHP EPA Label Snippet

Foot Bath – Top Pick to Kill EHV-1 while Stopping the Spread

EHV-1 viral particles may eventually end up on the ground and that means humans are a huge factor when it comes to controlling the spread of EHV-1 by keeping our shoes and boots disinfected.

Many equestrian centers and events arenas will have proper boot bath stations like these (link to product). These types of foot baths use bright color edging to draw attention to their use and they have nice low profile which helps prevent tripping.

While you may not need something that elaborate at the farm or ranch, it is highly recommended to implement some type of boot bath wherever horses live, especially during EHV-1 outbreak. A more budget friendly option would be these types of tubs (link to product) and long handled synthetic brushes (link to product).

Whichever style you choose, all studies show that boot dips should be a 2-step process.

  • Step 1-brush off dirty boots with one brush.
  • Step 2- step into disinfectant boot bath and use different scrub brush

For Boot Dips, Virkon S (Potassium Peroxymonosulfate) is a great Go-To.

The results of this study confirm those of previous studies,that simply stepping through or standing in a boot bath without first removing visible organic debris from boots does not provide effective boot disinfection. However, these experiments demonstrated that Virkon S is a suitable disinfectant for use in boot baths when used appropriately.

How Potassium Peroxymonosulfate is sold

Available in both powder form or convenient, pre-measured tablets, simply mix with water as directed. Virkon-S is a readily available Potassium Peroxymonosulfate disinfectant sold on amazon. A mixture of Virkon S lasts for about 5 days and stands up better than Quaternary Ammonia’s in colder temps.

Virkon S Powder (link to product) – EPA Reg.#39967-137

Virkon S tablets – (link to product) – EPA Reg.#39967-137

Here is what they look like (clickable images to pricing).

Both powder form and tablet form have these kill claims:

  • Kills Equine Herpesvirus type 1: 10 Minutes
  • Kills Equine Herpesvirus type 3: 10 Minutes
  • Kills Equine Influenza A Virus: 10 Minutes

Please note, in the USA, Virkon S will appear yellow when mixed and in other regions it will appear pink when mixed. Regardless of color, they contain the same formula just different dye additive.

Virkon S at 1% solution can be used for cleaning and disinfecting [rubber] [waterproof] boots] Boot bath and tray – for detailed instructions, click here: Virkon-S Boot Bath Guide

Site of an Equine Abortion – EHV-1 Disinfection

If you are facing the task of disinfection after an Equine Herpesvirus caused abortion, we are truly sorry for what you are going through. We want to share some unique dynamics of this awful event when it comes to accomplishing disinfection.

In the case of EHV-1 caused abortion, the fetus and site of occurrence is likely to be infected with a massive concentration of EHV-1 viral particles which poses a significant risk to your entire horse population. On top of that, the EHV-1 viral particles will be shielded by blood and other organics which reduce efficacy of chlorine based disinfectants.

Using Bleach to Disinfect EHV-1 Linked Abortion Area

Because it is affordable, many people turn to bleach when faced with disinfecting a large bloody area. Unfortunately of all the available disinfectants, household bleach is least likely to provide proper disinfection of EHV-1 and further infection of the herd is highly likely.

Alternatives to Bleach

In farm or ranch environments, where organic material (soil, plant matter, wood chips, animal waste, blood, etc.) is present, it is highly recommended to use disinfectant capable of remaining effective in the presence of organic matter.

Disinfectants that contain Phenolics, such as 1 SynPhenol-3 (usually obtained through your veterinarian) and accelerated hydrogen peroxide products, such as Rescue, do well in the face of organics followed by Virkon S.

Be sure to follow manufacturers’ recommendations and label instructions for all disinfectants.

Cold Temperature Considerations when Disinfecting ANY Animal Pathogen such as EHV-1

A 2015 study out of Japan compared Virkon S to 3 Quaternary Ammonia disinfectants in order to see how each would perform when trying to kill EHV-1 virus in cold temperatures.

2015 Findings

The study found that no matter how concentrated, QAC based disinfectants had no virucidal effect on EHV-1 at 32°F and colder. However, Virkon S was able to kill EHV-1 as low as 14° but a higher concentration was needed. Here is a snippet and link to the study’s findings:

Temperature critically affected the virucidal effect of each chemical. QACs had no virucidal effect on EHV-1 at 0°C/32°F. In contrast, EHV-1 was disinfected at 0°C /32°F by PMSC (Virkon S), even though the required concentrations were 4 times those at room temperature. Additionally, Virkon S disinfected EHV-1 at −10°C/14°F at concentrations of 0.05%.

link to 2015 study, The Journal of Veterinary Medical Science

So if you need to disinfect in temps below 32, Sodium Peroxymonosulfate found in Virkon S might be a better option than a QAC disinfectant. OR, if you are able to control room temperature, definitely raise the temperatures until you have completed the disinfection process, no matter what disinfectant you choose to use.

Farm-Wide, Outbreak Disinfection of EHV-1

In the face of equine viral outbreaks or chronic re-infection in the herd, you’ll want to go much deeper than boot baths and equipment disinfection.

Large area disinfection will benefit from the use of high output devices such as

Economical Trigger Sprayers

Backpack Style (Larger) Sprayers

Cold Fogging/Misting Devices

Thermal Fogging Machines

TIP: Fogging Machines are often available for RENT at places like Home Depot or other Equipment Rental Shops.

What Disinfectant to Use Inside Sprayers

Concentrated Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide Rescue Concentrate (requires dilution) kills EHV-1 faster and the mixture (once diluted with tap water) lasts up to 90 days. It is rated for use in pump and pressure style applicators but no mention of electric sprayers.

The downside is: AHP will be more expensive if you need large quantities. Pound for pound, Potassium Peroxymonosulfate powder is far more cost effective when massive disinfection is required. Virkon S has instructions for all types of dispensers, including thermal, electric foggers.

Here are the links again for Virkon S Powder and Virkon S Tablets which contain Potassium Peroxymonosulfate.

Other Tips for Reducing the Spread of EHV-1

The same 2015 study referenced above also showed that using products and detergents containing LAS: Linear Alkylbenzene Sulfonate could help reduce spread of EHV-1. This is a very common ingredient in laundry and dish soaps and is easy to make the switch.

“The use of kitchen detergent containing LAS for routine cleaning might reduce the risk of EHV-1 spread.”

If you’re already buying laundry detergents and kitchen detergents, why not make sure they contain LAS? Knowing you may be reducing EHV-1 particles on your own clothing or dishes adds an extra layer of protection without a significant increase in spending.

Unfortunately, the bottle will probably not have the entire list of ingredients. For that, a quick question in your preferred search engine should tell you whether or not the laundry detergent you use contains LAS. Simply type something like: Tide laundry detergent ingredients or Purex laundry detergent ingredients.

Does Lysol Kill EHV-1

We’d be remiss if we didn’t address Lysol and whether or not it is capable of killing the deadly EHV-1 viral particles. It does not have kill claims for the EHV-1 virus listed on the EPA website and we couldn’t find it on their own website either. So….we called and asked.

As of this writing March 2020, the person we spoke to at Reckitt Benckiser (makers of Lysol) could not confirm that Lysol was effective for killing Equine Herpesvirus EHV-1 or Equine Flu. She did look at all of her resources and asked if she could get back with us.

Later that day we received an email link to the viruses Lysol Disinfecting Spray can kill and EHV-1 and Equine Flu are not listed.

Summing It All Up

Here is a summary of what we discussed and links to check pricing and availability (if available). Please note: the label in your hand will ALWAYS supercede any online instructions. Always follow directions that come with your product and call the makers whenever you have questions. We called them for this research and they were always extremely helpful.

Using Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide to Kill EHV-1

Ready to Use Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide AHP can be found in Rescue RTU Wipes or 1 Quart Liquid Squirt Bottle. It kills EHV-1 and other Equine related pathogens on surfaces in the fastest amount of time without the need for masks or gloves. It’s convenient for traveling and doesn’t smell like a chlorine disinfectant.

Concentrated Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide offered as Rescue gallon size jugs and requires dilution. It’s great for adding to a trigger sprayer in order to disinfect larger areas. It kills EHV-1 and other deadly animal pathogens in 5 minutes when diluted 1 part product to 64 parts water and once you mix your solution, it lasts about 90 days.

Rescue AHP Manufacturer: Virox Technologies: 1-800-387-7578

Using Potassium Peroxymonosulfate to Kill EHV-1

A little goes a long way and each mixture lasts about 5 days. It is a standard go-to when faced with the task of major disinfection involving large areas. It outperforms QAC based disinfectants in colder temperatures and in fact performs well in cold temps, though higher concentrations might be helpful below 32°F.

Bulk potassium peroxymonosulfate in powder form is found in product Virkon S Powder . There is also a convenient tablet which offers the same disinfection, but in a premeasured disk. The tablet is called Virkon S or Trifectant Tablet. The mixture will be yellow and it will last about 5 days after mixed with tap water.

Virkon S is made by Lanxess Corp. : 1-800-441-9408


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Downloadable Brochure from USDA on EHV-1

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