Avian Influenza (AI) is a disease which can affect poultry. Some strains of AI are notifiable, therefore it is an offence not to report any suspected cases to the APHA.
There are many variables in terms of the disease and farms, therefore there is no “one size fits all” solution for an outbreak of AI. The APHA is always the first call and their teams will offer advice and guidance at every step of the process but having some plans in place will always save time in the event of an outbreak.
The process also has many caveats and timeframes are often dependant on whether it is a low pathogenic or high pathogenic type of AI. There are a number of strains of AI, determined by the haemagglutinin (H) and neuraminidase (N) proteins in the structure of the virus, e.g. H7N7, H5N1. The strain will also dictate the activities required.
The NFU and BFREPA have put together a guide for poultry farmers with advice from the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA). The guide has information that will help farmers put together a contingency plan for their farm. This may be simple plans for vehicle washing areas and PPE, to how to deal with waste litter and secondary cleanse and disinfection. See the list below for things to consider when putting together a contingency plan.
Things to consider when putting together a contingency plan:
- Monitoring of stock protocols
- Do all staff understand what the clinical symptoms of AI are and is this incorporated into a training plan for new staff
- Risks associated with being in a control zone
- Risks at different stages of production
- What are the risks for other enterprises on the farm e.g. farm shoots, livestock
- Visitor book updated regularly
- APHA local office contact details
- Implementation of new and revised biosecurity measures – i.e. measures to detract wild fowl and migratory birds
- Identify companies to consult with regard to C&D
- Plan protocol for secondary C&D including the products to be used and concentration at each C&D stage
- Identify equipment to be dismantled
- Vehicle/people movement plan
- C&D area and equipment – vehicles
- C&D area and equipment – humans
- PPE required
- Plan for manure/litter disposal
- Disposal of waste material
- Disposal of waste water
- Rodent control measures
- Storage plan for eggs, feed, litter, disinfectants
- Location for warning signage