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Poultry diseases such as avian influenza or virulent Newcastle disease (vND) can be spread through airborne means, but when birds get exposed to fomites that may be carrying the viruses, that is when the risk is highest.
“It is difficult to know how (vND) spreads in all cases, but it is commonly felt that fomites – physical carriers of contaminants – carry the disease agent from one farm to another,” Eric Gingerich, DVM, technical service specialist with Diamond V, recently told WATT Global Media.
Dr. David Swayne, laboratory director of Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory, U.S. National Poultry Research Center, USDA, said similar things about the spread of avian influenza.
Speaking during an October 2018 webinar, “Combat high-pathogen avian influenza,” presented by WATT Global Media, Swayne acknowledged avian influenza can be spread by airborne means, but added that the odds are slim and that the biggest focus should be on fomites.
“If you are a farmer and you want to protect your flock, put all of your efforts into protecting your flock by reducing potential fomite exposure,” he said.
That means do not let people enter the barns in the same clothing or shoes that were worn outside, and such items to change into should be kept inside the barn, Swayne said.
All equipment that comes on, such as feed trucks could be contaminated. It is better, if possible, if the feed truck never comes on the farm, Swayne added.