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Avian Influenza - What To Do In An Outbreak

05 November 2021
What is Avian Influenza?

Avian influenza (AI) is a very contagious disease of birds which occurs worldwide. The virus appears naturally among wild birds and can then infect domestic poultry. Infection can be caused through direct contact with infected birds, as well as contact with surfaces which have been contaminated. Producers are not able to restock until at least 21 days after the clean-down has been approved, and movement restrictions will be put into place.

What signs should I be looking out for?

There are two types of AI:

Highly Pathogenic
This has high mortality rates in a short space of time; entire flocks can be quickly wiped out.
Symptoms: Sharp fall in productivity, high mortality, appetite loss, respiratory issues including nasal and/or oral discharge, swollen head with a blue wattle or comb, diarrhoea, swelling and red discolouration of the shanks and feet.

Low Pathogenic
This usually has lower mortality rates; however, they may be higher if AI is accompanied by further infections.
Symptoms: (LP strains are more subtle and sometimes absent, and the disease may take longer to identify) - Mild breathing problems, decreased egg production and infertility, diarrhoea and loss of appetite.

What Evans Products do you recommend?

Evans Vanodine disinfectants GPC8, FAM 30 (Biocid30 Internationally) and VANODOX FORMULA have been tested against low and high pathogenic strains of avian influenza and found to be highly effective.  All products have Defra approval for Poultry Orders

The frequent cleaning of hard surfaces (e.g. worktops and door handles) to avoid possible human transmission is also recommended to prevent cross-contamination. We recommend the use of SHIFT (power wash liquid), TARGET (Foam Cleaner)  or TARGET POWERGEL (foam gel cleaner) for the cleaning of surfaces prior to disinfection, depending on the soiling levels. Foam cleaning is recommended for removal of soiling as high-pressure washers can increase transmission of the virus in overspray. 

GPC8 should be used in livestock housing and with associated equipment, as part of a biosecurity programme to aid infection prevention.

FAM 30 should be used as a disinfectant in foot baths and wheel dips. 

The Department of Health, who support the health and social care of the UK, recommend the maintenance of good basic hygiene, such as frequent hand washing followed by hand disinfection with an alcohol hand rub, such as Evans HANDSAN. This is to reduce the spread of the virus from your hands to your face, or to other people. HANDSAN has also passed EN 14476 against all enveloped viruses, including Coronavirus, with a 1-minute contact time. 

View and download our Poultry Brochure HERE, which includes our 7-stage cleaning and disinfection process.

Biosecurity Considerations

Paying special attention to biosecurity is essential in preventing the transmission of disease-causing agents to where they can pose a risk to animals, humans, or the safety and quality of a food product. Clothing, footwear and vehicles must be cleaned and disinfected. Footbaths and wheel dips must contain an approved disinfectant; we recommend Evans FAM 30. All staff must be trained in biosecurity.

PPE: Personal protective equipment must be worn during all stages of cleaning and disinfection, including overalls, eye/face protection, safety footwear, gloves and respiratory equipment (where applicable).

Foot baths and wheel dips:
1.    Foot baths filled with FAM 30 at 1:100 (for a 12 L capacity bath add approximately 120 ml of FAM 30) should be placed at all entrances to the house immediately after filling. Foot baths must be kept clean by changing the disinfectant regularly, otherwise they can be a potential source of bacterial contamination. 
2.    Always dip feet before entering poultry houses. 
3.    If boots are soiled, clean with water and a stiff brush before using foot bath. 
4.    Replace solution in foot baths every 3 days (72 hours), or sooner, if the colour of the solution fades. 

Disinfection of Paths, Roadways and Areas around Houses:
1.    Keep paths and surrounding areas as clean as possible, as litter and refuse are a potential source of infection. 
2.    Spray or brush down these areas regularly with a solution of FAM 30 at 1:100, at a rate of 300ml of solution per square metre. 

Do you suspect AI?

Due to AI being a notifiable disease, producers should report suspected cases immediately to their authorities: 

England – call Defra on 03000 200 301

Wales – call 0300 303 8268

Scotland – contact your local Field Services Office

Contact us to find your nearest distributor.

You can download a printable copy of this article HERE.


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