Exclusive Interview with Dr. Bruce Stewart-Brown, DVM, of Perdue Farms
HPAI stands for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, also known as bird flu. It is a viral disease that can infect domesticated and wild birds, and in some cases, it can be transmitted to humans. HPAI viruses are highly contagious and can cause severe illness and death in birds.
There are many strains of HPAI viruses, including the H5N1, H7N9, and H5N8 subtypes, which have caused outbreaks in poultry populations around the world. The H5N1 subtype, in particular, has caused concern because of its potential to spread to humans and cause a global pandemic.
Prevention and control measures for HPAI include vaccination of poultry, biosecurity measures, surveillance, and early detection of outbreaks. HPAI can be particularly devastating in chickens, as they are highly susceptible to the virus and can quickly become infected and die. The virus is spread through direct contact with infected birds, as well as through contaminated feed, water, and equipment.
Chickens infected with HPAI may exhibit symptoms such as sudden death, decreased egg production, respiratory distress, swelling and discoloration of the comb and wattles, and diarrhea. However, some chickens may not show any symptoms at all.
If HPAI is suspected in a flock of chickens, it is important to immediately isolate and cull any infected birds and properly dispose of their carcasses. In addition, the premises should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected to prevent the spread of the virus. Biosecurity measures, such as restricting access to the flock and screening visitors, can also help prevent the introduction of the virus to a farm.
Bird flu, also known as avian influenza, is a viral disease that primarily affects birds, including domesticated poultry such as chickens and turkeys, as well as wild birds. The disease is caused by influenza A viruses, which can be divided into two main categories: low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) and highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). LPAI usually causes mild or no symptoms in birds and is not considered a significant threat to public health.
However, HPAI viruses can cause severe disease and death in poultry populations and may also pose a risk to human health. Some HPAI viruses have been known to cause severe respiratory illness in humans, and in rare cases, have been associated with deaths.
Bird flu is spread through direct contact with infected birds or their droppings, as well as through contaminated surfaces, equipment, and feed. Wild birds can also carry and spread the virus without showing any symptoms. Prevention and control measures for bird flu include biosecurity measures such as controlling access to poultry farms, ensuring proper sanitation and hygiene, and separating different bird species to prevent transmission. In addition, vaccination can be used to reduce the spread of the virus in poultry populations.
In humans, antiviral drugs may be used to treat severe cases of bird flu, and in some cases, vaccines may be developed to prevent the spread of the virus from birds to humans. It is important to note that the risk of human infection with bird flu is generally low, but it is important to practice good hygiene and avoid contact with sick or dead birds.