Biosecurity is key in avian influenza battle

07-06-2016 | | |
The aim of biosecurity ( is to create barriers between the birds in the farm and many sources of contamination.
The aim of biosecurity ( is to create barriers between the birds in the farm and many sources of contamination.

It is a well known fact that diseases incur huge losses on poultry production worldwide. The prevention ?of infections is therefore an essential strategy for poultry producers. Biosecurity, and disinfection procedures in particular, have become an integral part of management strategies.

Developed animal industries are characterised by on-site biosecurity programmes, which are designed to prevent or minimise incursions by known infectious diseases. These programmes are supported by close veterinary and laboratory surveillance for animal health. A newly emergent disease can therefore most likely be recognised quickly in any developed animal industry.

The costs of diseases within the US poultry industry for example clearly indicates how destructive pathogens can be for the animal welfare and for the economic benefits which the farm animal industry is trying to accomplish.

Back in 1982, professor Peter M. Biggs of the Houghton Poultry Research Station reported that the total economic costs of disease (including vaccines and condemnations) were about 20% of the gross value of production (GVP) and about three times the cost of losses from mortality. An analogous 2007 analysis conducted by the University of Georgia, United States, calculated that the GVP of the United States poultry industry in 2005 was US$28.2 billion, and disease losses were 8.2% of this. Both studies showed that for each US$1,000 loss due to mortalities, another US$2,000 is lost elsewhere owing to depressed productivity resulting from disease.

Preventing the proliferation of pathogens

Stalosan F is a fine pink powder and its existing composition is based on synergism, where 2 or more ingredients reinforce each other’s effect. The product possesses a wide spread antimicrobial mode of action and prevents the proliferation of pathogenic micro-organisms. When applied weekly the product can improve the biosecurity 
status of the animals and minimise the disease spreading incidence.
Preventive application: Add 50 grammes per square metre. If the area is badly affected, increase the dosage slightly. Initially apply once a day for 3 days. Continue treatment once a week, thereafter.
Specific application: In case of increased pathogen pressure, the frequency of applications should be elevated to 2-3 applications per week at 50 grammes per square metre.

The aim of biosecurity

Biosecurity refers to procedures used to prevent the introduction and spread of disease-causing organisms in poultry flocks. The aim of biosecurity is to create barriers between the birds in the farm and many sources of contamination. Because of the concentration in size and location of poultry flocks in current commercial production operations and the inherent disease risks associated with this type of production, it is imperative that poultry producers practice daily biosecurity measures. Developing and practising daily biosecurity procedures as best management practices on poultry farms will reduce the possibility of introducing infectious diseases such as avian influenza and exotic Newcastle Disease as well as many others.

Disease prevention is an essential strategy for poultry producers. It is much more beneficial to the birds and to the commercial poultry producer to prevent disease from occurring rather than to rely on treatment. The agents which sound biosecurity practices attempt to prevent include bacteria, viruses, protozoa, fungi, parasites, and any other agents capable of introducing an infectious disease into a poultry flock.

Biosecurity is the efficient use of common sense hygiene procedures in preventing the adverse effects of a disease. It can be defined as a set of management practices which, when followed, reduce the potential for the introduction or spread of disease agents onto and among sites. In other words, biosecurity is an essential component of a disease control program in the poultry industry.

Destroying antimicrobial agents

Given the details above, livestock producers have to put more emphasis on disinfectants which are antimicrobial agents designed to destroy microorganisms. These substances are a very important part of any hygiene and disinfection procedure. In this regard, Danish company Vitfoss offers Stalosan F – a powder disinfectant that provides sustained suppression of pathogens commonly observed in animal housing facilities worldwide. One of these pathogens commonly seen is the avian influenza virus.

Avian influenza is a viral disease with global impact, affecting international trade in poultry and poultry products and threatening the health of flocks worldwide. To protect flock health and prevent the spread of disease, surveillance and biosecurity must be both efficient and accurate.

Avian influenza is a virus that infects wild birds (such as ducks, gulls, and shore birds) and domestic poultry (such as chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese). Avian influenza viruses are classified by a combination of two groups of proteins: the haemagglutinin or H proteins, of which there are 16 (H1-H16), and neuraminidase or N proteins, of which there are 9 (N1-N9). Strains also are divided into two groups based upon the ability of the virus to produce disease in poultry: low-pathogenicity avian influenza (LPAI) and high-pathogenicity avian influenza (HPAI).

LPAI naturally occurs in wild birds and can spread to domestic birds. In most cases it causes no signs of infection or only minor symptoms in birds. These strains of the virus pose little threat to human health. LPAI H5 and H7 strains have the potential to mutate into HPAI and are therefore closely monitored. HPAI is often fatal in chickens and turkeys. HPAI spreads more rapidly than LPAI and has a higher death rate in birds. HPAI H5N1 is the type rapidly spreading in some parts of the world. Reports of HPAI epidemics in poultry, such as H5N1, can seriously impact local and global economies and international trade.

Some recently conducted studies have exhibited the potential of Stalosan F to suppress two different types of avian influenza virus – the highly pathogenic H5N1 (see Table 1) and low pathogenic subtype H9N9 (see Table 2). The second experiment – against H9N9 subtype was done in triplicate. The conclusion is that the product, was able to inactivate ≥99.98% of AI virus within five minutes. Conducting tests between the mean value of control and the disinfectant powder at different time points revealed a significant decline in the virus titre due to the product application (P<0.01).>

Besides control over the most frequently observed pathogenic micro-organisms, the product has been proven to have a significant reduction of ammonia formation, absorb excessive moisture, decrease the pH-value of the litter, contribute to significantly better air quality through minimising the harmful emissions in the air and improve the overall performance of the flock.

Gospodinov Dvm Stalosan Area Technical Manager -Vitfoss