UK - Welsh poultry owners are being urged to follow good biosecurity practice to minimise the risk of their flocks coming into contact with wild birds following the recent outbreak of avian influenza on a duck breeding farm in East Yorkshire.
Avian influenza is a highly contagious viral disease affecting the respiratory, digestive and/or nervous system of many species of birds.
It spreads from bird to bird by direct contact or through contaminated body fluids and faeces.
Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, Professor Christianne Glossop, said: "Welsh poultry keepers can help minimise the risk of the disease spreading by maintaining good biosecurity measures. There are a number of simple precautions that can be taken such as regularly changing water and food supplies.
"Housing your birds is the most effective way to minimise direct contact and potential contamination from wild birds.
"If your birds are normally housed this should not present major problems. If your birds spend time outside you should consider the options for providing housing. This can include making use of existing buildings such as barns and adapting them for birds or erecting a solid lean-to.
"Where a farm does not practice "an all-in all-out" process, any new birds should be isolated for 21 days before they are introduced into the existing flock to limit possible disease spread.
"This period is the maximum incubation period for avian influenza viruses, and should enable keepers to identify signs of possible ill health.
"At the end of each production cycle, when the birds are removed from the farm, all housing should be thoroughly cleansed and disinfected to break the cycle of disease.
"Keepers can also minimise the potential of contamination from manure, slurry and other products, by carefully managing movements of people, vehicles or equipment into and from areas where poultry are kept.
"Anyone who does have contact with poultry should cleanse and disinfect their clothing and footwear afterwards. If practicable they should wear disposable protective clothing.
"Anyone keeping poultry should seek advice from their vet if they have any specific questions or concerns.
"Avian influenza is a notifiable disease so any signs of the disease should be reported to their local Animal Health and Plant Agency (formerly AHVLA) office immediately."
Find out more information on Avian Influenza by clicking here.
ThePoultrySite News Desk
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