Earlier this month, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) received several reports of severe outbreaks of avian influenza throughout countries in Europe and Asia, a sign the virus is spreading quickly again. Outbreaks of avian influenza, commonly known as avian flu or bird flu, generally occur in the autumn, spread by migrating wild birds. However, the virus seems to be more widespread this year in many countries than in previous years. According to the OIE, “In 2021, an unprecedented genetic variability of subtypes has been reported in birds, thus creating an epidemiologically challenging landscape.”
The global poultry industry is on high alert following outbreaks in The Netherlands, Norway, Belgium, France, Germany, Poland, South Korea, and Japan. Previous outbreaks of avian influenza have led to international trade restrictions, as well as the culling of tens of millions of birds. In May of this year, animal health authorities in Japan culled a record 9.87 million birds, primarily chickens and ducks, to stop the spread of highly pathogenic bird flu.
Epidemiologists are also paying close attention to the outbreaks, as the virus can be transmitted to humans. China has reported 21 human infections with the H5N6 subtype of avian influenza so far this year, more than in the whole of 2020.
What is Avian Influenza & How Does it Spread?
Avian influenza is a highly contagious disease that affects several species of poultry (chickens, turkeys, ducks, quails, guinea fowl, etc.), pet birds, and wild birds. Occasionally, mammals, including humans, may contract avian influenza. The type with the most significant risk is highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).
Avian influenza is similar to H1N1 flu (swine flu), canine influenza (dog flu), Equine influenza (horse flu), and human influenza (flu), as an illness caused by strains of influenza viruses that have adapted to a specific host.
Out of three types of influenza viruses (A, B, and C), the influenza A virus is a zoonotic infection with a natural reservoir almost entirely in birds. “Bird flu" typically refers to an influenza A virus type called H5N1.
Avian influenza viruses usually infect birds, but some strains can also infect humans. Humans that get avian influenza typically have come in direct contact with infected birds, birds that have died from avian flu, or bird droppings.
Stopping the Spread of Avian Influenza
This highly pathogenic disease can have severe impacts on international trades and the livelihoods of farmers. To combat avian flu, it must be a global effort. According to the OIE, there are several ways to help stop the spread of avian influenza, including implementing strict biosecurity measures in farms, commerce, and live bird markets, avoiding direct or indirect contact between domestic and wild birds, implementing surveillance programs in wild birds, isolating infected birds from healthy ones, and cleaning and disinfecting poultry premises.
Vital Oxide: The Ideal All-in-One Cleaner, Sanitizer, & Disinfectant for Farm Premises, Poultry Houses, Animal Pens, & Vehicles
Vital Oxide helps make the likelihood of humans and animals becoming infected with viruses and bacteria less of a threat. Currently, Vital Oxide is used to reduce the spread of pathogens on farm premises, veterinary clinics, and animal care facilities, as well as businesses, schools, hospitals, public mass transit, and in homes across the globe.
Vital Oxide is unique because it is highly effective against pathogens while being colorless, odorless, and free from nauseous fumes and harmful residues. It also has a safety rating that is not common with other disinfectants. Vital Oxide has the lowest toxicity level that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gives pesticide (disinfectant) applications – Category 4 – which means that you do not need to wear gloves or any other personal protection equipment while applying it for general use. Vital Oxide is safe to use on virtually any surface that can get wet; it’s non-corrosive to treated surfaces.
Steps to Disinfect Farm Premises, Poultry Houses, Animal Pens, & Transport Vehicles with Vital Oxide
Vital Oxide is tested and proven effective against a wide range of pathogens, including avian influenza (H5N1), with a contact time of just 10 minutes. Here are the steps to disinfect farm premises, poultry houses, animal pens, animal quarters, animal kennels, and transport vehicles with Vital Oxide:
- Remove all animals and feed from the premises, vehicles, and enclosures.
- Remove all litter and manure from floors, walls, and surfaces of barns, pens, stalls, chutes, and other facilities and fixtures occupied or traversed by animals.
- Empty all troughs, racks, and other feeding and water appliances.
- Thoroughly clean all surfaces with soap or detergent and rinse with water. Vital Oxide may also be used for this pre-cleaning step.
- Saturate all surfaces with Vital Oxide undiluted for a period of 10 minutes for disinfection.
- Immerse all halters, ropes, and other types of equipment used in handling and restraining animals, as well as forks, shovels, and scrapers used for removing litter and manure, in Vital Oxide for 10 minutes.
- Allow surfaces, tools, and equipment to air dry.
- Ventilate buildings, vehicles, and other closed spaces.
- Drain any pooled product and/or rinse standing product with potable water. Do not house livestock or employ equipment until treatment has been absorbed or dried.
To reduce cross-contamination into animal areas, shoe baths containing one inch of Vital Oxide must be placed at all entrances to the building. Scrape waterproof shoes or boots and place in solution. Allow the solution to come in contact with the boot/shoe for 10 minutes. Change the disinfecting solution when the solution becomes visibly dirty, and at least once daily.
- The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) calls for increased surveillance of avian influenza as outbreaks in poultry and wild birds intensify
- WHO – Influenza (Avian and other zoonotic)
- CDC – Highly Pathogenic Asian Avian Influenza A (H5N1) in People
- CDC – Influenza A Subtypes and the Species Affected
- USDA – Avian Influenza
- Vital Oxide User Guide
At Vital Oxide, we’re proud to offer a revolutionary product that’s powerful enough to kill 99.9% of viruses and bacteria without harsh chemicals or alarming safety ratings. Follow us on Instagram (@vitaloxideofficial) for more great cleaning and disinfecting tips. If you have any questions, please Contact Us or Send Us a Message on Facebook. We're here to help!