AI virus can be transmitted directly from bird to bird through secretions and feces, and indirectly through human movement, contaminated feed, water and equipment.
In light of the threat and risks associated with AI, increased attention has been drawn to the ongoing need to protect domestic poultry through the effective use of on-farm biosecurity measures. Biosecurity involves maintaining good hygiene practices and limiting exposure to external sources of contamination.
The 5 Biosecurity Basics for Bird Owners
- Restrict visitor access. People can bring diseases onto your farm, especially if they own or have been in contact with other birds. It is a good idea to have separate clothing and footwear for use when dealing with your birds.
- Prevent contact with wild birds and other animals. Keep your birds in an enclosed or screened in area, and protect their food and water from contamination.
- Don't bring disease home. New additions or birds that have been at a fair or market should be isolated and observed for signs of disease for at least two weeks before joining the flock. Equipment such as cages should not be shared with other bird owners. Any shared equipment should be thoroughly washed and disinfected by ViralFx™
- Keep it clean. – Use ViralFx™ (1:100 dilution rate) for routine disinfection and wash cages, feed and water surfaces, boots and any equipment that comes in contact with the birds or their droppings. Wash your hands thoroughly after dealing with the birds.
- Recognize and report illness. Early detection is critical in successfully dealing with a disease outbreak. It is better to be overcautious than too late. If your birds show signs of disease, such as depression, abnormal egg production or feed consumption, respiratory problems, diarrhoea, or sudden death, call your local veterinarian or contact the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) immediately.
How can poultry production units and farms in an area where Avian Influenza has been identified reduce the risk of contracting the disease?
Put a continuous biosecurity programme into place to prevent Avian Influenza from entering the farms environment:
When considering an effective continuous biosecurity programme, it is essential to bear in mind that the Avian Influenza virus can survive for considerable lengths of time outside of the host and birds can be infected through a number of vectors:
- Contact with other birds
- Contact with mechanical vectors such as vehicles & equipment
- Contact with personnel
- Establish a secure Biosecurity perimeter to ensure that the site is limited to one combined entrance and exit, providing a means of contact between the site entrance and the farm house/office e.g. a direct phone line, bell or whistle for essential callers
- Minimize the number of visitors and where possible provide farm only boots and overalls.
- Put a shower-in policy into place and provide hand-washing facilities.
- Provide foot and wheel dip baths filled with an approved disinfectant and ensure that the disinfectant is changed on a daily basis.
- Ensure that all vehicles have been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected prior to arrival at site.
- Only allow essential vehicles to enter with all others (staff, delivery & service vehicles etc.) being kept outside the Biosecurity perimeter.
- Disinfect Loading Bays, Paths and Roadways with an approved disinfectant.