The Poultry Site: Bird Flu News
Friday, May 01, 2015

 Number of Avian Flu Outbreaks in US Exceeds 100

US – Three new outbreaks of H5N2 highly pathogenic avian influenza confirmed in the latest USDA update bring the total number of outbreaks to 101, affecting more than 15.7 million birds. Among the latest farms to be affected is the largest yet5.5 million layers in Iowa – and Minnesota has reported its 70th outbreak.
ThePoultrySite News Desk

Avian Influenza

(aka bird flu, avian flu) is caused by a type of influenza virus that is hosted by birds, but may infect several species of mammals. It was first identified in Italy in the early 1900s and is now known to exist worldwide. A strain of the H5N1-type of avian influenza virus that emerged in 1997 has been identified as the most likely source of a future influenza pandemic.Strains of avian influenza virus may infect various types of animals, including birds, pigs, horses, seals, whales and humans. However, wild fowl act as natural asymptomatic carriers, spreading it to more susceptible domestic stocks. Avian influenza virus spreads in the air and in manure and there is no evidence that the virus can survive in well cooked meat.


How to Recognise Avian Influenza
What to look for

Ruffled feathersSoft-shelled eggs

Depression and droopiness

Sudden drop in egg production

Loss of appetite

Cyanosis (purplish-blue coloring) of wattles and comb

Edema and swelling of head, eyelids, comb, wattles, and hocks

Green diarrhoea

Blood-tinged discharge from nostrils

Incoordination, including loss of ability to walk and stand

Pin-point hemorrhages (most easily seen on the feet and shanks)

Respiratory distress

Increased death losses in a flock

Sudden death

Nasal discharges

Poultry Vaccination

Poultry Vaccination as a strategy for controlling AI in commercial birds

Outbreaks of avian influenza in the poultry industry cause devastating economic losses and is generally controlled through extensive culling of infected birds. Alternative strategies also use vaccination as a supplementary control measure during avian influenza outbreaks.

Advantages of Vaccination

Vaccination reduces susceptibility to infection. A higher dose of virus is necessary to infect the vaccinated birds.Vaccinated birds shed less virus. 
– Decreased contamination of the environment.
– Decreased risk of human infection
Used strategically vaccination compliments a stamping out strategy by slowing/stopping the spread of the virusFor more information on poultry vaccination see:Vaccination as Part of an Avian Influenza Control Strategy


Avian Influenza (Fowl Plague) is a potentially devastating disease, predominantly of chickens and turkeys, although the virus can also affect game birds (pheasants, partridge and quail), ratites (ostrich and emu), psittacine and passerine birds.

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

Precautionary requirements include cleaning and disinfection of premises and the establishment of a Biosecurity barrier to help prevent spread of disease is essential.

For more information on biosecurity see the links below

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