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Wild birds should not be killed to fight bird flu
Strict controls and surveillance needed to keep wild birds away from poultry
18 February 2004, Rome -- Eliminating wild birds is not an appropriate measure to control the spread of the avian influenza virus, FAO said today.

Killing wild birds will not help to prevent future bird flu outbreaks.

Prevention needs to be based on a control and surveillance system to ensure that any contact between wild birds and poultry is avoided or at least monitored.

For example, commercial poultry owners need to ensure that poultry pens and poultry drinking water supplies cannot be contaminated by migrating birds. If this cannot be done, then making the drinking water safe by appropriately treating it is necessary.

Experience has shown that this has been a good strategy and that the destruction of wild birds is unnecessary, FAO said.

FAO called upon bird owners to be vigilant. Owners of backyard poultry or free-range poultry should be extra cautious. Bird owners should:
  • erect pens to keep domesticated poultry away from wild birds;

  • keep domestic waterfowl separate from poultry where the waterfowl have access to the same water as wild waterbirds;

  • be alert to the symptoms of avian influenza in birds and quickly report any suspicions to the veterinary authorities.

Commercial poultry producers should apply good biosecurity measures including:
  • maintaining a high level of security regarding all traffic coming onto poultry farms and a very high standard of hygiene to minimise spread of the disease;

  • bird proofing of poultry sheds to prevent contact between wild birds, especially wild waterbirds, and poultry;

  • keeping records and reporting sudden decreases in production;

  • ensuring that all sick or dead birds are checked by an experienced veterinarian and that samples are submitted to the regional laboratory.
Poultry in the vicinity of wetlands or anywhere else where wild waterbirds congregate could be at higher risk, so surveillance in these areas needs to be reinforced.

"Good biosecurity is a must. If we understand when, how and where wild birds migrate, then we are better prepared and know when we should be more vigilant and have better surveillance in place," FAO said.



Contact:
Erwin Northoff
Information Officer, FAO
erwin.northoff@fao.org
(+39)06 570 53105

Contact:

Erwin Northoff
Information Officer, FAO
erwin.northoff@fao.org
(+39) 06 570 53105

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Wild birds should not be killed to fight bird flu
Strict controls and surveillance needed to keep wild birds away from poultry
18 February 2004 -- Killing wild birds will not help to prevent future bird flu outbreaks, FAO said today.
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