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Protecting the flock against Avian Flu

According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) "some of the recent H5N1 bird flu infections detected in the United States have occurred in commercial turkeys. In mid-January, the USDA first announced finding highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A(H5N1) virus in wild birds, marking the first detection of this virus in wild birds in the United States since 2016. This was followed by announcements of outbreaks of HPAI A(H5N1) virus in commercial poultry beginning February 9, 2022."

This can be some bad news for commercial poultry producers. Very bad news.

A March 10, 2022 report in the Washington Standard stated, "On top of everything else, now a highly pathogenic avian influenza pandemic is ripping across the United States, and it has already resulted in the deaths of almost 2.8 million birds. Most of the birds that have died have

been chickens or turkeys. And since this was just in the very first month of the pandemic, there is no telling how bad it could eventually become. What will the eventual death toll look like? Will it be in the tens of millions? That is definitely a possibility. And what would happen if the bird flu mutates into a version that spreads easily among humans? We might want to start thinking about that because that is possible too.

I knew that the bird flu outbreak was bad, but I didn’t know that it had gotten this bad. The following comes from the Successful Farming website

With new outbreaks in Iowa and Missouri, nearly 2.8 million birds — almost entirely chickens and turkeys — have died in one month due to highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), the Agriculture Department said on Monday. The viral disease has been identified in 23 poultry farms and backyard flocks in a dozen states since February 8, when the first report of “high path” bird flu in a domestic flock was reported.

2.8 million birds. In one month. The results could be astronomical in terms of dollars lost, but also in terms of food supply lines.

The CDC report

February 22, 2022Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A(H5N1) viruses have been detected in U.S. wild birds and commercial and domestic poultry, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspective Service (APHIS).

What is the bird flu?

Avian influenza is a disease of birds caused by infection with avian influenza A viruses (bird flu viruses). However, avian influenza A virus infection of people is rare. CDC believes that the current risk to the general public’s health from HPAI A(H5N1) virus in the U.S. is low. However, some people may be at a higher risk of infection than others based on their exposures to infected birds, particularly poultry workers. There is existing federal guidance related to bird flu exposures for different groups of people, including hunters pdf, poultry producers, responders to bird flu outbreaks in birdspdf , the general public, as well as health care providers.

While these bird flu outbreaks are largely an animal health issue, CDC is working closely with USDA to monitor for potential human infections and taking other routine preparedness and prevention measures in anticipation of possible human infections.

As a reminder, it is safe to eat properly handled and cooked poultry and poultry products in the United States. The proper handling and cooking of poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165˚F kill bacteria and viruses, including HPAI A(H5N1) viruses.

Wild birds can be infected with HPAI A(H5N1) viruses without showing symptoms, but these viruses can cause illness and death in domestic poultry.


Ancestors of these HPAI A(H5N1) viruses first emerged in southern China and led to large poultry outbreaks in Hong Kong in 1997, which resulted in 18 human infections. The outbreak was controlled, but the HPAI A(H5N1) virus re-surfaced in 2003 to spread widely in birds throughout Asia, and later in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.

What is CDC Doing?

Based on available gene sequencing, CDC has determined:

  • CDC has produced a candidate vaccine virus (CVV) that is nearly identical to the recently detected HPAI A(H5N1) viruses in birds that could be used to produce a vaccine for people if needed.

  • These viruses are susceptible to currently available antiviral medications used to treat influenza.

  • These viruses can be detected using CDC’s diagnostic tools for seasonal influenza viruses which are used at more than 100 public health laboratories in all 50 U.S. states and internationally as well.

CDC is working with USDA and state public health partners to monitor for potential infections in exposed persons in the states where H5N1 bird flu virus detections in poultry and backyard flocks have occurred. If human infections with H5N1 bird flu virus are identified, CDC will assist with surveillance, contact tracing, and steps to reduce further spread, in the affected jurisdictions. CDC will also alert clinicians and other health professionals through clinician outreach networks. CDC has guidance documents including recommendations for personal protective equipment and information for people exposed to birds infected with avian influenza A viruses and guidance for testing and treatment of suspected cases to prevent severe illness and transmission to other people. CDC is currently reviewing and updating this guidance as needed.

According to the report, risk assessment is also ongoing.

But why not do all you can to protect your flock now? While no product can claim 100% protection, Vital Oxide is known to protect against the avian flu. See the link to the Environmental Protection Agency information for details. (See page 25).

Vital Oxide can clean and protect your entire operation

To Disinfect Farm Premises, Poultry Houses, Animal Pens & Vehicles: 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. Saturate all surfaces with product undiluted for a period of 10 minutes. 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. Allow to air dry. Ventilate buildings, cars, boats, and other closed spaces. Drain any pooled product and/or rinse the standing product with potable water. Do not house livestock or employ equipment until treatment has been absorbed, or dried.

BOOT/SHOE WASH: To reduce cross-contamination into animal areas, shoe baths containing one inch of the disinfecting solution 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.

Vehicles transporting animal feed, animal food, pet food, human food: Product can be used as a part of a FSMA regulations sanitary transportation practices for transporting human and animal food for sanitizing/disinfecting hard non-porous surfaces. Product to be used by the shipper, receiver, loader or carriers transporting human and animal food on Transportation equipment includes bulk and non-bulk containers, bins, totes, pallets, pumps, fittings, hoses, gaskets, partitions, loading systems, and unloading systems. For disinfection allow the surface to remain wet for 10 mins for sanitization 5 mins.

Disinfection of animal quarters and kennels: For disinfection of pre-cleaned animal quarters and kennels, apply this product [-or- product name] undiluted. Remove all animals and feed from the premises. Remove all litter and droppings from floors, walls, and surfaces of facilities occupied or traversed by animals. Empty all troughs, racks, and other feeding and watering appliances. Thoroughly clean all surfaces with soap or detergent and rinse with water. Saturate the surfaces with the undiluted disinfecting solution for a contact time of 10 minutes. Ventilate building and other closed spaces. Do not house animals or employ equipment until treatment has been absorbed, set, or dried.

If you are concerned about your birds or other animals, give their pens a good cleaning and sanitize them with Vital Oxide. It just may keep your flock (and the rest of the critters) safe and healthy.


Do you have more questions? Find an agent near you who will be happy to assist you.

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