What Is Avian Influenza (AI)?
AI viruses can infect chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, ducks, geese and guinea fowl, as well as a wide variety of other birds. Migratory waterfowl have proved to be a natural reservoir for the less infectious strains of the disease known as low pathogenicity avian influenza. AI viruses can be classified into low pathogenicity (LPAI) and high pathogenicity (HPAI) based on the severity of the illness they cause. HPAI is an extremely infectious and fatal form of the disease that, once established, can spread rapidly from flock to flock. However, some LPAI virus strains are capable of mutating under field conditions into HPAI viruses.
Signs of Avian Influenza
- Sudden death without clinical signs
- Lack of energy and appetite
- Decreased egg production
- Soft-shelled or misshapen eggs
- Swelling of the head, eyelids, comb, wattles, and hocks
- Purple discoloration of the wattles, combs, and legs
- Nasal discharge
- Coughing, sneezing
- Lack of coordination
Understand what biosecurity is and how it helps reduce disease outbreaks:
By following good biosecurity, you decrease the risk of AI on poultry farms; loss of export markets, public concern, and cancellation of poultry shows, auctions, fairs, and exhibits as a result of disease outbreaks; and quarantines resulting in financial losses due to disease outbreaks.
Biosecurity: Make it Your Daily Routine
Consistent biosecurity practices are the best way to prevent diseases such as AI. The following steps can help you keep your birds healthy:
- Keep your distance Isolate your birds from visitors and other birds.
- Keep it clean Prevent germs from spreading by cleaning shoes, tools and equipment.
- Don’t haul disease home Also clean vehicles and cages.
- Don’t borrow disease from your neighbor Avoid sharing tools and equipment with neighbors.
- Know the warning signs of infectious bird diseases Watch for early signs to prevent the spread of disease
- Report sick birds Report unusual signs of disease or unexpected deaths.
This information is published from USDA APHIS. For more information and for webinars concerning Biosecurity Basics visit: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/animal-disease-information/avian-influenza-disease/birdbiosecurity