State Advises Bird Owners to Watch for Bird Flu
The Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture (HDOA) is advising commercial and backyard poultry and bird owners to be on the alert for the highly pathogenic HPAI H5 bird flu virus. Owners are encouraged to maintain good sanitation practices and insure that their birds do not mingle with other wild and migratory birds (see list below).
“Hawaii may be geographically far from other land masses, but some migratory birds do fly to Hawaii,” said Scott Enright, chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. “Bird owners, particularly those who keep their birds outdoors should take precautions, be vigilant and report any symptoms of diseased or dead birds in their flocks.”
Several outbreaks of the bird flu virus have been confirmed since December 2014 along the Pacific migratory bird path, which includes California, Utah, Nevada and Idaho. In addition, new infections were detected in March in some U.S. mainland migration paths. However, no human cases of the virus have been detected in the U.S., Canada, or internationally. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) rates the risk to humans as low.
HDOA has already established strict laws for importing birds into Hawai‘i, requiring permits, inspections, health certificates, and sometimes isolation periods prior to arrival. Additional import restrictions have been implemented on poultry and other birds from zones affected by the virus within the states to prevent the virus from entering the Islands. HDOA continuously monitors poultry within the state for bird flu infections.
Bird owners in Hawai‘i who notice high mortality rates in their poultry or birds should contact HDOA’s Division of Animal Industry at (808) 483-7106.
For more information about bird flu visit the Hawaii Department of Agriculture.
Recommended Safety Measures for Reducing Risk of Bird Flu Infection
- Minimize traffic coming onto your premises.
- Avoid visiting farms that keep poultry/waterfowl/game birds.
- Seal poultry house attics and cover ventilation openings with screens.
- Keep your poultry in closed and locked house(s). Allow only essential personnel into your poultry house(s). Provide clean or disposable coveralls, head covers, and plastic boots or boots that can be cleaned and disinfected.
- Before working with your own flock, put on clean clothing and footwear.
- Do not share equipment or vehicles with other farms.
- Change disinfectant foot baths daily. Place foot baths at outside entries to poultry house(s) and egg room(s).
- Insist that vehicles and equipment entering your premises be cleaned and disinfected (Personnel and equipment that have been in direct or indirect contact with other farms pose a great risk).
- Trucks to slaughter facilities or egg processors should not be going directly to any farm to load birds. It is recommended that birds are taken to a central location for loading onto trucks. Vehicles transporting birds should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before returning to the farm. Special attention should be paid to the crates. If you must allow trucks onto your premises, do not allow personnel or crates to enter your poultry house(s) unless those personnel are wearing proper clothing and crates have been cleaned and disinfected.
- Insist that supplies brought to your premises (egg flats, carts, etc.) be new (if disposable) or be washed and disinfected (plastic flats, carts, shelves, or dividers).
- Follow the “all-in/all-out” philosophy of flock management.
- Protect open range or backyard poultry flocks from contact with wild birds and water that may have been contaminated by wild birds.
- Dispose of dead birds safely (incineration, burial, composting, rendering). Never pile dead birds outside of a building or spread in fields.
- If multiple load-outs are required on your farm, try to have all birds off the farm within 3-4 days.