FAO Advice on Bird Flu Measures for Poultry Sellers, Transporters

GLOBAL - The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has issued advice on controlling the spread of influenza A(H7N9) for those those involved in the sale or transport of poultry and at live markets.
calendar icon 3 May 2013
clock icon 3 minute read

What specific precautions should be taken by individuals involved in the sale or transport of poultry?

Poultry producers, transporters, sellers and all other intermediaries in the poultry value chain should use good biosecurity measures to minimize the risk of incursion of the virus into individual production units and the risk of outward and onward transmission through the market chain, according to FAO.

Veterinarians and other service providers who travel from site to site risk spreading disease if good biosecurity measures are not practiced. Veterinarians should also promote the use of good biosecurity measures to poultry keepers and other actors they encounter.

Transporters of live birds should use cages that: i) are only used for the purpose of transporting birds, and ii) can be easily cleaned and disinfected. All devices used for moving live poultry should be cleaned and disinfected before and after transport.

Movement management, separation and other good biosecurity measures include: creating physical barriers at farm entrances, using safe water and feed sources, employing poultry housing that is effectively resists wild bird and rodent infestation, preventing poultry unit workers from keeping their own poultry, ensuring outer clothes and footwear are changed upon entry and exit, establishing mandatory rest periods (e.g. minimum one day) between farm visits to avoid the risk of intermediaries transferring the disease from one site to another, imposing quarantines on newly introduced or returning birds, rearing single species and thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting premises on a regular basis.

What are appropriate hygiene measures to be implemented in live bird markets?

Instituting proper hygiene at live bird markets requires the consultation and involvement of all stakeholders (e.g. market operators, stall holders, local authorities, veterinary services, public health services and sellers). Markets should be organized so that they can be cleaned and disinfected regularly.

Market infrastructure improvements may be required, including installation of solid, easily washable flooring, effective waste disposal systems, proper drainage and reliable running water supplies. Holding cages should be easy to clean.

Slaughtering markets should be distinct from breeding markets, wholesale markets should be distinct from retail markets, and individual poultry species held at the market should be kept separate from one another. At retail markets where birds are slaughtered, workers should use protective clothing and equipment that can be easily cleaned and disinfected.

FAO is currently providing support to many countries in the improvement of live animal market infrastructure and organization.

Further Reading

You can visit the Avian Flu page by clicking here.

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