Thursday, July 16, 2015

HPAI: Battening Down The Biosecurity Hatches





With Avian HPAI H5 and H7 viruses on the march around the globe, the watchword going forward for much of the world’s poultry industry is Biosecurity.

Avian influenza vaccines - which have been widely used for a decade in places like China, Egypt, and Vietnam - have not solved their bird flu problems, and in fact, may have exacerbated them (see New Scientist: The Downsides To Using HPAI Poultry Vaccines & The HPAI Poultry Vaccine Dilemma).

Since some species of wild and migratory birds can carry these viruses without ill effect, and it is neither practical or desirable to try to contain or cull these birds, the only other recourse is to segregate commercial and backyard poultry from these potentially infected vectors.


Wild and migratory birds undoubtedly brought the HPAI H5N8 to North America, and are responsible for their spread across both Canada and the United States. But according to last month’s APHIS: Partial Epidemiology Report On HPAI H5 In The US, inadequate biosecurity measures may have contributed to farm-to-farm spread as well.


During the height of the spring bird flu outbreak we looked at some USDA Avian Flu Biosecurity Videos and in May we saw an OIE Statement On Avian Influenza: A Call For Stronger Biosecurity.  


The USDA’s  HPAI Biosecurity Checklist focuses primarily on sealing entry to bird houses, disinfection (of premises, personnel, and equipment), and limiting (and tracking) visitors.

The stakes for the poultry industry, and for the larger economy, this fall are enormous.  And so we continue to see an emphasis on, and new guidance for, farm biosecurity.


This month, APHIS published another Biosecurity Brochure, this time focusing on ways to keep wild and migratory birds away from farms using techniques I suspect many will not have though of.


Prevent Avian Influenza at Your Farm

Improve Your Biosecurity with Simple Wildlife Management Practices

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service July 2015

Avian influenza is a disease found in wild and domestic birds. Although wild waterfowl rarely show signs of the disease, they can shed the virus into the environment through their oral and nasal secretions and feces. The viruses can cause severe illness and death in domestic birds.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is working closely with State and local officials and industry experts to assist poultry producers in the surveillance, reporting, and control of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). 

Experts are still evaluating how HPAI is spreading in the United States.

Biosecurity is Key

The best way to prevent HPAI at your farm is by consistently using appropriate biosecurity measures. The USDA and its industry partners provide a list of recommended biosecurity measures at

You can build upon and enhance these measures with the addition of simple wildlife management practices around your farm. The following management practices can help you prevent wild birds and other wildlife from coming into direct contact with your poultry, as well as wild bird fecal material and secretions from being accidentally transported on boots, equipment, and food to your birds.





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