Implement biosecurity measures in wake of avian influenza

Avian influenza has been a hot topic in the news as it has spread to many states with prominent poultry industries. Avian influenza is a viral disease that affects almost all species of birds. In birds, avian influenza is spread by direct contact with fecal droppings or respiratory secretions of infected birds, or by objects (shoes, clothing, equipment, etc.) that have been contaminated by the virus.

To limit the spread of this disease a quarantine order is issued around sites that have tested positive in Iowa. As a result of the quarantine order a control area is established around the infected premises and a written quarantine order is delivered to people living in the area. All domesticated poultry within this zone is identified and tested for avian influenza. Additionally, a permit is required for each movement of poultry or poultry products (including feed, manure, wood chips and bedding materials) into or out of the avian influenza control zones.

Permits are for movement of the poultry or poultry product (including manure) from the origin premises, and the request should come from that premises. All requests should be submitted 24 to 48 hours prior to the desired movement, with requests and supporting documents submitted to [email protected]. Supporting documents for products from premises within the control area include two negative PCR tests (5 bird pooled sample for each barn), with the second negative test being collected the day prior to the date of shipment and a mortality log of the previous 14 days for each barn on the site.

Even if you are not in a control zone, take the time to remind your employees to follow proper biosecurity practices.

  • Washing vehicles between farms is ideal and should be considered essential before visiting a poultry farm. Pay special attention to the vehicles’ tires.
  • For footwear remove any mud, dirt or organic matter first and then scrub boots (paying extra attention to the bottom tread) with a brush and hose and use appropriate disinfectants being sure to follow the label to provide adequate contact time and concentrations to be effective.
  • Also be sure to clean and disinfect any equipment used on farms that could become contaminated.
  • Maintain lines of separation, avoid parking near exhaust fans and air inlets.
  • If possible do not enter any building on the property. If you must enter discuss with the farmer or farm manager.

More information is available at www.iowaagriculture.gov/AvianInfluenza.asp on these policies. Additional resources on avian influenza and biosecurity tips are available on the Egg Industry Center page at www.ans.iastate.edu/EIC/AvianInfluenza.dwt. Contact your specific state’s department of agriculture or Extension service for information pertaining to your state.

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