Bird flu and avian influenza as a farm chicken with a medical mask as a virus outbreak public health hazard caused by contaminated infected poultry in a 3D illustration style.

What to do if you suspect Avian Influenza

The following bio-safety guidelines are effective methods for safeguarding commercial operations and smaller flocks:

  • Backyard flock owners should practice strict biosecurity, including preventing birds from exposure and/or co-mingling with wild birds and other types of poultry.
  • Shower, change clothes, and clean and disinfect footwear before entering your poultry housing areas.
  • Respiratory protection such as a medical facemask would also be important and remember to always wear clean clothes when encountering healthy domestic birds.
  • Carefully follow safe entry and exit procedures into your flock’s clean area.
  • Reduce the attractiveness for wild birds to stop at your place by cleaning up litter and spilled feed around poultry housing areas.
  • If you have free range guinea fowl and waterfowl, consider bringing them into coops or flight pens under nets to prevent interaction of domesticated poultry with wild birds and their droppings.
  • It is best to restrict visitors from interacting with your birds currently.
  • Do not touch sick or dead wildlife and keep them away from domestic poultry
  • Try not to handle sick or deceased domestic birds (if you must, use proper personal protective equipment to minimize direct contact and cautiously disinfect anything that comes into contact with the deceased and or sick bird).

Follow these basic steps in response to confirmed Avian Influenza on your farm:
Quarantine – restricting movement of poultry and poultry-moving equipment into and out of the control area;
Eradicate – depopulate the affected flock(s);
Monitor region – testing wild and domestic birds in a broad area around the quarantine area;
Disinfect – kills the virus in the affected flock locations; and
Test – confirming that the poultry farm is AI virus-free.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, this strain of Avian Influenza is a low risk to the public. While the transmission rate from animals to humans is low, it is a zoonotic disease, meaning it can be shared between species. This is another reason to keep biosecurity measures strict on your farm while Avian Influenza is currently going around.

Source: USDA Farm Service Agency