There has been a couple of outbreaks of Avian Flu (Bird Flu) in my province and it is well worth my time and effort to protect my beloved flock. I have had losses before and the last thing I want is to be sick with no flock and a quarantined area. The losses and risks are huge, no eggs, no birds, and a seriously bad virus that can affect others are not my idea of a good time.
So what is the Avian Flu? The H5N1 virus is the strain of avian influenza that has infected numerous species of birds in Asia, Europe and Africa since the end of 2003. Avian flu viruses can be divided into highly pathogenic and low pathogenic strains based on its ability to cause disease in poultry. Low pathogenic avian flu is a natural infection of waterfowl that may cause minimal to no signs of disease in domestic poultry and wild birds and is not a serious threat. Highly pathogenic avian flu is rarely found in waterfowl, but causes severe disease in domestic poultry with a high death rate.
Two kinds of avian flu viruses, H5 and H7, are known to include highly pathogenic viruses. Not all H5 and H7 influenza viruses are highly pathogenic, but H5N1 is. This form may cause disease in chickens and some other species of birds that affects multiple internal organs and has a mortality rate that can reach 90-100 percent, often within 48 hours.
**Avian flu is not the same as regular influenza. At the moment the virus does not appear to be able to spread readily between humans. The only reported human infection was caused from handling birds infected with H1N5. You cannot get infected with these viruses from properly handled and cooked poultry or eggs.
How can I protect my flock from getting H5N1?
- Keep wild birds away from your flock! Netting, screens, and pens are a great help in ensuring your flocks safety.
- Wash your hands often to kill any signs of the virus. Especially after handling your birds, eggs, or raw poultry products.
- Only eat well cooked poultry products!
- Do not eat sick or dead birds. See your doctor if you have a fever after coming into contact with any sick or dead birds.
- During an outbreak avoid taking birds to shows or bringing birds home.
- If you are receiving new birds be sure you know the supplier and can trust that the birds are healthy and have not been in contact with Avian flu.
- Disinfect your footwear or keep an extra pair of boots that are meant for home only!
Prevention is the key. So if your like me and your province, state, country, town, etc.has any form of an outbreak be careful. Do everything you can to protect yourself. 60% of humans infected with H5N1 have died and their flock destroyed. Do not panic, just be aware and take the measures needed.
Where I got most of my information: