Wild bird highly pathogenic
avian influenza surveillance

Sample collection from healthy, sick and dead birds

FAO Animal Production
and Health Manual
No. 4

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(474 KB - pp. 56)

Waterfowl and shorebirds are considered to be the natural reservoirs for all avian influenza virus subtypes and, in general, most subtypes cause little or no disease in wildlife. However, type A influenza has undergone a combination of genetic drifts and shifts that have resulted in the H5N1 AI virus strain causing morbidity and mortality in many wildlife species. Although some surveillance has started, more research is necessary to determine the role that healthy wildlife plays in transporting and shedding virus.

This manual provides basic guidelines for wildlife surveillance and disease investigation whatever their cause. It contains chapters on clinical signs of infectious disease, bird handling and sample collection methods, sample handling and transportation, and diagnostic techniques. It also contains important recommendations on disinfection and personal safety.

      Table of contents



      CHAPTER 1
      Clinical signs of infectious disease

      CHAPTER 2
      Live bird handling

        Blood sampling

      CHAPTER 3
      Dead bird collection

        Sampling strategy for H5N1 AI

      CHAPTER 4
      Avian Necropsy Protocol

        Necropsy Occupational Health and Safety
        Avian Necropsy Protocol
        External examination
        Internal Examination

      CHAPTER 5
      Necropsy sample collection

      CHAPTER 6
      Sample collection

        Details regarding samples to be collected during a necropsy

      CHAPTER 7
      Swabbing techniques

        Procedure for sampling

      CHAPTER 8
      Sample handling and transport

        Swabs and viral transport media
        Serum, plasma and fresh tissues
        Formalin fixed tissues
        Sample shipment

      CHAPTER 9

        Laboratory diagnosis for H5N1 AI
        Field tests (point-of-care)

      CHAPTER 10
      Carcass disposal

        In the field

      CHAPTER 11

      CHAPTER 12
      Personal safety recommendations


        1. Sick or dead bird sample collection log
        2. OIE/FAO Network (OFFLU) and reference laboratories for avian influenza
        3. Gross Pathology Illustrations

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© FAO 2006