How can I tell if it's avian influenza?

Victoria Roberts BVSc MRCVS, Country Smallholding Vet's forum, describes the symptoms of Avian Influenza

 Be suspicious of: • high, rapid and unexplained mortality • a severe drop in egg production Symptoms of AI: • Large numbers of depressed, sick and dying birds • Panting with open mouth • Discharge from eyes and nostrils • Dark congested comb and wattles • Swelling of the head • High fever Compare with: • Newcastle disease: nervous signs such as twisted neck, trembling or difficulty in walking • Infectious bronchitis: respiratory noise, discharge from eyes and nostrils, egg production drops but not significant acute mortality • Mycoplasma: severe sinusitis, head swelling, sweet sickly smell, congested nostrils Other viral respiratory pathogens: • avian pneumovirus (TRT) • Infectious rhinotracheitis (ILT) Bacterial respiratory pathogens: • Ornithobacter rhinotrachale (ORT) • Haemophilus paragallinarum (fowl coryza) • Pasturella multocida (fowl cholera) • E coli as secondary infection Biosecurity for free-range poultry: • Keep feed under cover to minimise wild bird attraction • Keep water fresh and free of droppings • Keep waterfowl and chickens separate • Control vermin • Quarantine new stock for two to three weeks • Quarantine birds after taking to an exhibition for seven days • Change clothes and wash boots before and after visiting other breeders • Change clothes and wash boots before and after attending a sale • Keep fresh disinfectant at the entrance to poultry areas for dipping footwear • Disinfect crates before and after use, especially if lent to others, although it’s better not to be sharing equipment • Disinfect vehicles which have been on poultry premises but avoid taking vehicles onto other premises • Comply with any import/export regulations/guidelines These are all common sense measures which can easily be incorporated into daily routine. Further information For ongoing information on avian flu:  Defra helpline: 01224 711 072. www.defra.gov.uk World Health Organisation: www.who.int