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H5N8 HPAI virus


FAO position on wild birds and the risks of bird flu (February 2017)

FAO recognises the scientific evidence that wild birds, especially waterfowl, are natural reservoirs for influenza A viruses. In the efforts to better control the disease however, FAO does not recommend action against wild birds, but limit their potential contact with the poultry production sector – large and small. Activities based on hunting, poisoning of populations or habitat destruction in order to remove the threat wild birds are likely accelerate their dispersal and potentially further spreading the infection to other parts of the country or neighbouring countries, kill other species, contaminate or destroy environment or ecosystem balances.

FAO supports the investment in strengthening good hygiene practices and biosecurity interventions on poultry farms, during transport or marketing of poultry and safeguarding their products. These efforts would be paramount for risk management and reduction, as opposed to indiscriminate hunting or habitat destruction. FAO would also urge that there is no justification for pre-emptive culling of endangered species in zoological collections. Control measures for captive wild birds in places where virus is detected should be based on strict movement control, isolation and only when necessary limited culling of affected birds.

The use of disinfectants in the environment where sick or dead birds are found is likely ineffective because of the high organic content and could be environmentally damaging long-term.



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