The threat of avian influenza not only can impact human health, it also has agricultural and economical implications. Therefore there are important steps to take to prevent any sign of bird flu entering your site and potentially infecting poultry and mammals.
What is avian flu?
Avian influenza refers to the disease caused by infection with avian (bird) influenza (flu) Type A viruses. These viruses occur naturally among wild aquatic birds worldwide and can infect domestic poultry, wild birds and other bird and animal species.1 Infected birds shed avian influenza virus in their saliva, mucous and feces. Human infections with bird flu viruses can happen when enough virus gets into a person’s eyes, nose or mouth, or is inhaled. This can happen when virus is in the air (in droplets or possibly dust) and a person breathes it in, or when a person touches something that has virus on it then touches their mouth, eyes or nose.2
How can you prevent bird flu?
The best prevention of the strains of bird flu is to avoid the sources of exposure. When a site is exposed to the h5n1 virus, it is advised that the site and all employees should follow the recommended biosecurity and infection control practices which include the use of appropriate personal protective equipment and careful attention to hand hygiene. One method of controlling the spread of the virus, which is often overlooked, is the installation of wheel wash systems which disinfect vehicle tyres, as well as boot cleaning systems to clean employee’s footwear.
What is a disinfectant wheel wash system?
The highly pathogenic avian influenza can be spread easily through vehicles entering and exiting an infected site, therefore it is important that all equipment is thoroughly disinfected. Wheel cleaning is an important part of this. Disease control and prevention can be implemented when vehicles enter a poultry site by using a wheel wash system with added disinfection features. Agriwash provide vehicle disinfection systems designed for use in pig & poultry farms, fisheries, abattoirs, cattle markets and similar locations. It’s a completely surface mounted system that can either be easily moved from one location to another to offer complete flexibility or inset into a prepared foundation. Its strategic nozzle configuration cleans the complete outer and undercarriage of a vehicle’s wheel, including those of articulated wagons, while its heavy-duty PVC side screens and shallow collection tray beneath the wash deck collect and retain contaminated wash water for safe and controlled disposal – a key feature of these advanced systems.
How can a boot wash prevent infection?
When managing a site, it’s important to think about how each individual worker can improve site hygiene and safety. Boot cleaning systems ensure that debris isn’t spread by the movements of workers. Staff room cleaning costs can be cut and the need for workers to manually clean their footwear is removed, preventing the unwanted transfer of potentially hazardous materials. It’s easy-to-use, easily installed and can be adapted to fit any site-specific needs. A major concern on any site is safety, which is why boot wash systems deliver a high standard of hygiene consistently, even in the most challenging of conditions, allowing workers to feel completely confident in the effectiveness of our systems.
The importance of Hand Hygiene
In environments where the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus may be present, hand hygiene, which includes hand washing and the use of alcohol-based hand rubs, is critical to prevent possible viral inoculation of the nose, mouth and conjunctivae by contaminated hands.3 Infections are often spread from person to person or touching surfaces, so when a person touches a contaminated surface the microorganisms can often be transferred to that person’s eyes, nose, or mouth.
In order to prevent the spread of any pathogens, employees must:
- When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose
- After handling animals or animal waste, make sure you wash your hands often
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people responding to poultry outbreaks should get a seasonal influenza vaccination every year, preferably at least two weeks before engaging in an outbreak response. Seasonal influenza vaccination will not prevent infection with avian influenza A viruses, but can reduce the risk of co-infection with human and avian influenza A viruses. These people should also be monitored for illness during and after responding to avian influenza outbreaks among poultry.4