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Published On: Sat, Apr 6th, 2013

UN food security agency: China bird flu outbreak requires strong biosecurity measures

In response to the outbreak of H7N9 human avian influenza in China during recent weeks, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) says strong biosecurity measures are needed, according to a media release Friday.

Shanghai, China map (in red) Public domain image/Joowwww via wikimedia commons

Shanghai, China map (in red)
Public domain image/Joowwww via wikimedia commons

“Unlike H5N1, where chickens were dying off on a large scale, with this virus we don’t have a red flag that immediately signals an infection. This means farmers may not be aware that virus is circulating in their flock. Biosecurity and hygiene measures will help people protect themselves from virus circulating in seemingly healthy birds or other animals,” said Juan Lubroth, FAO Chief Veterinary Officer.

“With the virus harder to detect, good biosecurity measures become even more essential to reducing the risk of virus transmission to humans and animals. Good biosecurity and hygiene measures implemented by farmers, livestock producers, transporters, market workers and consumers represent the first and most effective way to protect the food chain,” Lubroth said.

CDC Director Frieden briefs on China H7N9 bird flu outbreak

While this new virus is being evaluated, FAO continues to recommend the following standard precautions:

  • Keep all birds and livestock separate from people’s living areas. Close contact with infected animals can put people at risk. Since A(H7N9) causes little to no signs of disease in birds, separate living areas for animals and people is key.
  • Keep wild birds away from poultry and other animals, keep different types of bird and species of animal apart. Screens, fencing or nets can be used to separate species and help prevent transmission.
  • Report sick or dead animals to the local veterinary (or public health) authorities. If this is not possible, tell your neighbours or community leaders. It is important that all signs of illness or sudden and unexplained deaths in poultry, farmed birds, wild birds or other animals are reported to the authorities so that they can deal with them safely and help stop the virus spreading.
  • Wash your hands often to kill and remove the virus. You should always do so after handling birds or other animals, cooking or preparing animal products, and before eating.
  • Eat well-cooked meat products.
  • Do not eat sick or dead animals and do not give or sell them to others. Such animals should also not be fed to other animals.
  • Seek immediate advice from your doctor if you show signs of fever after being in contact with poultry, farmed birds, wild birds or other animals.
  • If the human threat is confirmed as animal in origin, culling would be appropriate as long as it is performed in a humane way with appropriate compensation made.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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