Bird flu outbreak

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Geological Survey have reported three versions of bird flu in 57 cases confirmed since December.  The USDA reported on April 21st that in Iowa, the nation’s largest egg producer, about 5.3 million hens will be destroyed after tests confirmed the virus.

Avian influenza (a.k.a. Bird flu) is a highly contagious disease of birds which can result in severe economic loss for owners and producers of diseased flocks.  Bird flu is caused by a virus which occurs commonly in healthy waterfowl, but can cause severe disease in turkeys and chickens.  Bird flu is considered a Foreign Animal Disease in the United States, which means that the government works to prevent the introduction of bird flu into commercial and backyard poultry flocks.  Flocks that are confirmed positive for bird flu are euthanized. Federal and state health officials consider the risk to people to be low from these infections in wild birds, backyard flocks and commercial poultry. No human infections with the virus have ever been detected.

Avian-Influenza-Viruses-Infecting-Midwest

Credit: Sarah, Creative Commons

 

 

Avian Flu Symptoms for Birds include:
• sudden death without any signs
• lack of coordination
• purple discoloration of the wattles, combs, and legs
• soft-shelled or misshapen eggs
• lack of energy and appetite
• diarrhea
• swelling of the head, eyelids, comb,
wattles and hocks
• nasal discharge
• decreased egg production
• coughing, sneezing

Prevention tips:

  • Avoid taking birds to (or bringing birds home from) all shows and exhibits during an bird flu outbreak.
  • All avian species can be carriers of bird flu. All flocks should be fenced or confined, in order to avoid contact with any wild birds, especially waterfowl.
  • Introduce new stock only from sources you are sure are bird flu free and particularly not from areas in or near an bird flu outbreak zone.
  • Mix a solution of three parts bleach to two parts water, and use it liberally to clean rubber boots and equipment brought onto your farm.

bird flu uf

References:

Carver, Donna K. Preventing avian influenza in backyard poultry flocks. – http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/poulsci/tech_manuals/preventing_avian_influenza_backyard.pdf

Gempler’s Commercial Grade Outdoor Work Gear.  – http://www.gemplers.com/tech/avianflusigns.htm

Eller, Donnelle. 5.3 million Iowa laying hens to be destroyed in bird flu outbreak – http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/money/agriculture/2015/04/20/avian-flu-chicken-eggs/26094811/

The Associated Press. An explanation of wild birds’ role in avian flu outbreak http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/usworld/ap/an-explanation-of-wild-birds-role-in-avian-flu-outbreak/article_933e03b7-1654-5d6c-adad-a86ac283ec75.html