As some of you are aware, there is a current outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) throughout much of the world. Case numbers have been steadily building over the last few months and this is now a very real threat to sanctuary residents. In an effort to help you protect your residents (or any other birds who may live on your property), we are providing the following resources on HPAI, biosecurity, and some bullet pointed topics most sanctuaries will need to carefully consider. The resources included are designed to be quick and easy to review, as we know you’re all short on time.
Please be aware that sanctuary facilities that have had positive cases have then been forced to euthanize ALL their bird residents to prevent further spread, as in this tragic case: https://www.nbcboston.com/news/local/birds-at-nh-animal-sanctuary-euthanized-due-to-avian-flu/2674697/
Some Items to Consider:
- Intakes – Will your sanctuary continue to accept new birds who may have been exposed to HPAI? Are your normal quarantine measures appropriate to address this risk?
- Visitation/Tours – Visitors to your facility can carry the virus on their shoes, clothes, etc., how will you prevent contact with your residents? Should visitors still have contact with birds/bird enclosures? What PPE might you need? Should tours be temporarily postponed or changed to mitigate risk?
- Disease Vectors – Wildlife continues to be a predominant vector of HPAI. Are you able to move your bird residents strictly indoors, away from exposure to areas exposed to wildlife or can outdoor bird enclosures be amended to prevent contact with shared areas/bodies of water? How are fomites (inanimate objects such as shoes, buckets, bowls, etc. which can carry disease particles) handled to avoid carrying the virus in? Note: Pigs can be asymptomatic carriers of HPAI.
Protecting Captive Wild Birds Checklist:
HPAI Biosecurity Checklist:
Open Sanctuary Project: https://opensanctuary.org/article/ai/ (contains current case map)
HPAI Updates for Zoo & Wildlife Professionals Webinar: https://zahp.org/hpai-updates-for-zoo-wildlife-professionals-webinar-recording/
Beyond reviewing and considering the above information, we strongly recommend you discuss the risk mitigation and biosecurity with your sanctuary’s veterinarian to help determine next steps.