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Avian Influenza Info Sheet for Arizona Veterinarians

Friday, April 10, 2015  
Posted by: Alexandria Mosley
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Arizona Department of Agriculture

Animal Services Division

Office of the State Veterinarian

 

1688 W. Adams Street, Phoenix, Arizona 85007

(602) 542-4293  FAX (602) 542-4290

April 9, 2015

 

What Veterinarians can do to protect Arizona from Avian Influenza

 

Outbreaks of Avian Influenza have been in the news recently and poultry owners are concerned for the health of their flocks.  Between December 2014 and April 2015, wild waterfowl, raptors, and domestic flocks of chickens, turkeys, and ducks have succumbed to Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) virus infection in eight western (WA, OR, CA, ID, MT, WY, NV, and UT), and six Midwestern (MO, AR, KS, ND, SD, and MN), states. Minnesota has been the hardest hit with nine turkey flocks in six counties infected which has resulted in the loss of more than 650,000 birds. 

 

There have been no confirmed HPAI cases in Arizona.  However, as long as Avian Influenza virus is circulating in North America, the potential for infection remains.

 

Avian Influenza is a highly contagious viral disease of chickens, turkeys, pheasants, ducks, quail, geese and many wild birds.  It can often be carried by wild waterfowl without symptoms.  Direct contact with infected birds, contaminated objects/equipment, and droplets in air (short distances) can spread the virus which is found in feces, saliva and respiratory secretions.

 

The many different strains of the Avian Influenza virus are broadly categorized into Low Pathogenic (LPAI) and Highly Pathogenic (HPAI), based on how severely ill the infected chickens become.  HPAI causes the greatest number of deaths in domesticated poultry.

 

Poultry affected by either LPAI or HPAI can show a variety of signs, including:

 


·         Sudden death and high mortality

·         Swollen or cyanotic wattles and combs

·         Respiratory signs, such as coughing and sneezing

·         Decreased food consumption, huddling, depression

·         Decreased egg production, watery diarrhea


 

Although HPAI is a deadly contagious disease of domestic poultry, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) considers the risk to people from these HPAI H5 infections in wild birds, backyard flocks and commercial poultry, to be low.  It is also safe to eat properly handled and cooked poultry products, including meat and eggs.

 

What should veterinarians do to help protect Arizona poultry flocks?

 

·         Limit, monitor and record your movement and the movement of vehicles onto farms

·         Wash and disinfect items, such as footwear, vehicles and equipment, when entering and exiting farms

·         Isolate any ill animals and contact State Veterinarian, Dr. Perry Durham at 602-542-4293

·         If contact with sick birds is necessary, wear protective clothing (disposable gloves, mask, coveralls and boots)

·         Educate your clients about HPAI risks – including biosecurity measures, contact with wild fowl, and food safety

 

Report sick birds immediately to the Arizona State Veterinarian’s Office, 602-542-4293 or the USDA sick bird hotline 1-866-536-7593

For more information, go to the USDA HPAI Alert for Veterinarians: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/vet_accreditation/downloads/hpai_alert.pdf


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