I went to a seminar tonight on Avian Flu given by Virologist Daniel R. Perez, PhD. Dr. Perez is one of the nations leading researchers in avian flu, and is currently spear-heading a far-reaching national study on interspecies transmission of the virus.

The summary of what I got out of the presentation was:

Migratory birds have always been the carriers of influenza. Influenza can be carried by birds but cant not survive in nature without a host. The main carriers currently is waterbirds, mostly waterfowl.

The Spanish flu in 1918 was caused by an avian strain of influenza and was devastating because there were no antibiotics or treatments at that time. 20,000,000 people died at that time. Many instances of flu pandemics have occurred over the years.

The reason for the more recent outbreak of avian flu strains is:

Loss of habitat, birds are losing their natural habitat so fast that they are overcrowding into natural areas and forced in urban areas. Concentrating diseases. (dont mess with mother nature!!)

Factory Type farms have created unsanitary conditions for birds. One bird is sick and they all get it because they have rows and rows of chickens pooping on top of chickens.

A vaccine was made for humans and the greed of the poultry industry used the vaccine on chickens until the point where the birds were immune and the virus mutated to form and even deadlier strain of influenza. Making it unusable in humans as well. (they have done this with enrofloaxin too)

The main carriers of avian flu now are turkeys, chickens and quail. Most of the disease is spread via fecal contact. The quail version is an airborne transmission. It is also found in water.

What can we do? Eventually the bird flu will make it to the US. The flyways for north America do overlap in places with the flyways in Asia. There is treatments for humans. The only way to stop the spread is to kill thousands and thousands of birds. They will literally go door to door looking for birds. There is a test they can do on your birds to see if they are infected.

This virus isn't really just a "bird" flu its been found in horses, dogs, cats, swine, birds and humans. Your boisecurity will play the biggest part of whether or not your birds are culled and whether you and your animals stay healthy. Always wash your hands before and after handling animals. If your working with birds, like me, wear gloves and a mask. Although the mask wont stop the transmission he reminds us that it does keep you from touching your nose or mouth. Do not wear shoes in one animals pen and track feces into another animals pen. ANY disinfectant will kill the virus. Wear rubber shoes and dip them in diluted bleach solution when you travel in and out of pens. This prevent transmission of many disease from animal to animal. So These are good rules to follow regardless of whether we have bird flu or not.

I made good notes but left them in the car, so if you have any questions I will try and answer them. God help us all that we never have to use this information!

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