Rodents are known transmitters of a variety of harmful bacteria including salmonella and leptospirosis but new research from the U.S. Department of Agriculture suggests avian flu can be introduced into poultry houses through rodents and wild birds.
The avian flu or bird flu is a virus that infects wild birds and domestic poultry including chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese. There are two strains of the virus – low pathogenic and highly pathogenic.
The low pathogenic occurs naturally in wild birds and can spread to domestic birds. In most cases avian flu causes no signs of infection or only minor symptoms in birds. The highly pathogenic avian flu spreads rapidly when introduced into poultry facilities and is often fatal in chickens and turkeys.
Common ways for the avian flu virus to spread include sharing of farm equipment between infected and non-infected facilities; lack of cleaning and disinfection of equipment, storage units and vehicles; and employees moving between infected and non-infected facilities.
How can poultry houses protect their flocks from the threat of rodents and other virus carrying mechanisms from infecting their facility:
- Hire a professional pest management company to design and implement a rodent control program that includes not only control measures (trapping, baiting (where permitted) but preventative measures as well including exclusion and sanitation strategies.
- A pest management professional can also design a bird management program that offers non-lethal mechanical, cultural and structural strategies for preventing disease-carrying birds from establishing nesting sites in and around your facility.
- Keep an “all–in, all–out” philosophy of flock management. Process each lot of birds separately, and clean and disinfect poultry houses between flocks.
- Protect poultry flocks from coming into contact with wild or migratory birds. Keep poultry away from any source of water that could have been contaminated by wild birds.
- Permit only essential workers and vehicles to enter the farm. Provide clean clothing and disinfection facilities for employees.
- Thoroughly clean and disinfect equipment and vehicles (including tires and undercarriage) entering and leaving the farm; Do not loan to, or borrow equipment or vehicles from, other farms.
- Change footwear and clothing before working with your own flock after visiting another farm or live–bird market or avoid visiting another bird farm if possible.
- Avian flu viruses are inactivated by heat and drying and also these viruses are very sensitive to most disinfectants and detergents. The area to be disinfected must be clear of organic material, which greatly increases the resistance of avian influenza virus’ resistance to disinfection.
Griffin Pest Solutions has been in business since 1929 providing world-class commercial pest management services to Michigan and Indiana. We are known as pioneers in the pest management industry, using technology to improve training and documentation, reduce costs, leave a smaller environmental-footprint, and to enhance the overall customer experience.