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Preventing the Spread of Avian Influenza

Source: Canadian Veterinary Medical Association Updated on July 16, 2015
Avian Influenza_Bird Flu

What can travellers do to avoid bringing the disease into the country?

While out of the country:

Avoid visiting areas where you may come into contact with live birds, such as poultry farms, live bird markets or any other area where birds congregate. This is most important in countries experiencing an outbreak of high pathogenic avian influenza. (An updated list of countries affected by AI can be found at the World Organisation for Animal Health Web site at http://www.oie.int/eng/en_index.htm). If you are in contact with live birds infected with the AI virus, the virus may persist on clothing, footwear and in hair. Take appropriate personal hygiene measures including thorough hand washing and showering, wash clothing, and clean and disinfect footwear.

On returning home:

Ensure all birds and poultry products you wish to bring into the country are eligible for entry and declare all animal products upon arrival. If you visit an area where you have been in contact with live birds while abroad and/or you plan to go onto a live bird premises shortly after your return, make sure that any clothing and footwear you wear are free from soil and manure before entering the country. Also, take appropriate personal hygiene measures including thorough hand washing and showering, wash clothing, and clean and disinfect footwear after arrival.

What can livestock producers do to prevent infection on their farm?

Wild bird populations are the natural reservoir for the influenza viruses. Therefore, it is essential for commercial poultry producers to maintain strict bio-security practices.

On a farm:

  • Keep away from areas frequented by wild fowl;
  • Keep strict control over access to your poultry houses by people and equipment;
  • Keep equipment cleaned and disinfected before taking it into poultry houses;
  • Do not keep bird feeders and duck ponds on your farm. This will discourage wild birds.
  • Maintain high sanitation standards.
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