Hybrid Turkeys’ video provides a primer on avian influenza and is a must see for anyone involved in the poultry industry. Tens of thousands growers and workers either come in direct contact with live poultry or visit facilities which house or process live poultry every day. Each of these thousands of people can play a role in helping to stop the spread of this highly contagious disease, and a 32 minute video produced by Hybrid Turkeys, a division of Hendrix Genetics, provides a quick and easy to understand explanation of the basics of the disease and how it can be spread.
The video covers what causes avian influenza, what the difference is between high pathogenic and low pathogenic avian influenza, how the virus is spread, what the control measures are, what role vaccination might play in control, what risks are to humans and what the extent of the disease's spread is in May 2015. Dr. Helen Wojcinski, manager of science and sustainability, Hybrid Turkeys, narrates the video and covers topics in a way that everyone can learn important facts based on currently available knowledge, such as:
- While all waterfowl can transmit the avian influenza virus, mallards and dabbling ducks are at the top of the list for shedding and harboring the virus.
- Small birds like sparrows can be pick up the virus from open bodies of water and carry it on the farm.
- High levels of avian influenza virus are shed in feces, which can contaminate water or ground where it lands.
- It only takes the amount of virus that would fit on the head of a pin to cause an outbreak in a poultry house.
- People and equipment are primary means for introducing the virus in poultry houses.
- Avian influenza virus can be spread on dust and feathers contaminated with the virus, thus wind can spread the virus, but only as far as the dust and feathers are carried. The “wind” can be supplied by a truck that is moving infected birds or manure.
- Avian influenza virus survives well at low temperatures. It can survive up to a month in feces below 40 F and it survives very well in water, three to five months at 66 F.