Fact Sheet - Avian Influenza

ViralFx™ Avian Flu Virus



What Is Avian Influenza (AI)?

Avian influenza (AI), often called “bird flu,” or “Fowl Plaque” is caused by the Type “A” influenza virus. This virus can affect several species of food-producing birds (chickens, turkeys, quails, guinea fowl, pheasant’s partridge, psittacine passerine birds & ratites (ostrich and emu), as well as pet and wild birds. The reason that avian influenza and pandemic influenza have been linked together by some people is the potential for a virus usually found in animals to mutate and form a new virus that could easily infect humans, both directly and from one human to another.

Avian Influenza (also known as "Bird Flu") continues to make headlines, sometimes causing confusion and anxiety among the general public. Is it safe to travel to Europe or Asia? Is it safe to eat poultry? Is it safe to go near wild birds?

Avian influenza viruses can be broadly classified into two types, based on the severity of the illness caused in birds:

  • low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI)
  • highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI)

However, highly pathogenic viruses can cause severe illness and death in birds.

Highly Pathogenic Bird Flu or Avian Influenza (HPAI)

Avian Influenza is caused by an orthomyxovirus, or influenza virus and can survive for considerable lengths of time outside of the host with birds being infected through contact with other birds, mechanical vectors such as vehicles and equipment and personnel travelling between farms, markets and abattoirs.

ViralFX™ is effective against Avian Influenza virus:

The effectiveness of ViralFX™ for killing the Avian Influenza virus, in practice bearing in mind real farm conditions, in particular the heavy organic challenges and broad spectrum of other potential disease-causing organisms – we recommend at a standard dilution rate of 1:100.

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Are some strains of avian influenza more likely to be highly pathogenic?

Avian influenza viruses are divided by 16 H types and 9 N types which create a total 144 possible combinations. The H5 and H7 subtypes of the virus are of particular concern, given the ability of these two H-types to mutate from low pathogenic to highly pathogenic after they infect domestic birds.

These two H-types have been known to cause serious disease or mortality in domestic poultry, yet low pathogenic H5 and H7 viruses are quite common in wild waterfowl.

Where is avian influenza found?

Detailed information on the distribution of the H5N1 subtype and highly pathogenic avian influenza around the world is available from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)

What are the clinical signs of avian influenza?

Some or all of the following clinical signs are evident in infected birds:

  • A drop in production of eggs, many of which are soft-shelled or shell-less
  • Diarrhea
  • Haemorrhages on the hock
  • High and sudden mortality rate
  • Quietness and extreme depression
  • Swelling of the skin under the eyes
  • Wattles and combs become swollen and congested

The incubation period of AI ranges from 2 to 14 days.

The signs of AI are very similar to those seen with Velogenic, Newcastle Disease and other poultry diseases.

How is avian influenza diagnosed?

Avian influenza should be suspected on the basis of clinical signs as given above.

Laboratory testing is needed to confirm the presence of the avian influenza virus. Contact your local veterinarian or provincial veterinary laboratory for assistance.

    EInfluenza Type A
Avian Influenza Orthomyxovirus H5N1