How can owners protect their bird(s)?
Biosecurity is the first line of defense against transmission of avian influenza to birds, including companion birds and commercial and backyard poultry.
The USDA recommends six steps to help keep birds safe:
Step 1: keep your distance. (See related USDA blog related to biosecurity.)
Step 2: keep it clean.
Step 3: don't haul disease home.
Step 4: don't borrow from your neighbor.
Step 5: know the signs.
Step 6: report sick birds.
Bird owners should prevent contact between their birds and wild birds, live bird markets, and any source of water that may have been contaminated by wild birds. Consideration should be given to moving flocks and individual birds housed outdoors to indoor accommodations if exposure to wild birds and their droppings is likely. Since influenza can be spread through fomites, bird owners should also take care not to expose their birds to shoes or clothing that may have been exposed to wild bird droppings, feathers, or water where wild water fowl congregate.
Access to poultry farms should be restricted to essential workers and vehicles, and all equipment and vehicles that enter and leave the farm should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. In addition, equipment, personnel, and vehicles should not be loaned to (or borrowed from) other farms. Birds obtained from live bird markets or via slaughter channels should not be brought back to the farm. View the USDA's Questions and Answers on Protecting Birds from Avian Influenza in the United Statesfor additional information on biosecurity for additional information on biosecurity.
Protecting domestic waterfowl from infection is problematic, because such birds are the natural hosts of all known AI viruses. The only practical measure to limit exposure to pathogenic strains of AI virus is to exclude wild or feral waterfowl from ponds and sources of water supplying the pond. Waterfowl may need to be brought indoors for short periods during an outbreak of avian influenza.