The risk of Avian Influenza (AI) occurring in domestic poultry can be greatly reduced by undertaking some basic biosecurity procedures:
1. Prevent waterfowl gaining entry to poultry houses, or frequenting areas where poultry free range. Waterfowl are the main potential source of infection of AI to domestic poultry. Other species of free flying birds are generally a much lower risk with AI in Australia but husbandry procedures should be in place to avoid the nesting and aggregation of these birds. This would involve such procedures as limiting access to feed.
2. Prevent domestic poultry gaining access to surface water that may have been contaminated by waterfowl. This includes puddles, dams, channels and water troughs. Surface water contaminated with waterfowl faeces poses a very serious disease transmission risk. If water other thantown water is used as drinking water for poultry, it should be effectively sanitised before use. Chlorine added to achieve 2 to 3 ppm at the level of the drinker, or the installation of a chlorine dioxide sanitation unit is recommended.
3. Change boots, and use footbaths containing a virucidal agent that remains effective under high organic loads when moving into areas containing poultry. A phenolic or iodine based product used in accordance with label instructions is recommended. This prevents waterfowl faecal matter being carried into poultry flocks from outside areas on contaminated boots and shoes.
4. Keep chicken feed in a bird proof silo, shed or enclosure. Contamination of feed by wild birds poses a significant disease transmission risk of AI and other potential diseases of poultry.
It is internationally accepted that killing wild birds is not an appropriate measure to control the spread of AI.