The H7N9 (Bird Flu) virus is a concern, although none has been reported in the United States. World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan stated the H7N9 outbreak is over. No new cases are being reported in China. Dr. Chan said,
“At the end of March this year, China reported the first-ever human infections with the H7N9 avian influenza virus. Within three weeks, more than 100 additional cases were confirmed. Although the source of human infection with the virus is not yet fully understood, the number of new cases dropped dramatically following the closing of live bird markets,”
Swift action on the part of the Chinese government, and the voluntary actions of the farmers before the government inspectors arrived on scene are to be credited for the short duration of the epidemic. Farmers were so frightened at the possibility that their flocks might have H7N9 that they destroyed their flocks without prodding by the government. As government health officials announced the regions where infections had been found, farmers quickly responded.
Chinese officials are working closely with the World Health Organization and other international experts to attempt to find answers about how this particular outbreak started and ways to prevent future outbreaks. They are also looking into it’s unique genetic sequence.
Studies of the virus bring to light additional concerns about H7N9. Arising out of the H7N9 outbreak is that the virus is resistant to Tamiflu and that the human immune system does not strongly fight the virus. Also concerning is that 21% – 24% of those infected were fatal cases. Other findings include the disease is spread by direct contact with the virus and less effectively by breathing the same air as those infected.
Even though the outbreak in China is seemingly over, they believe it was caused by migratory birds. There is no guarantee that wild birds are not carrying the virus. Since wild birds migrate from China to the U. S. west coast, the article by Stephanie Gayle is worth a look.
It is important to be sure your flock is well cared for, receive appropriate food and water and have ample space to remain healthy. Clean the water and food containers daily to prevent disease. If birds are housed in a building, it will be necessary to clean and disinfect the floors often or daily. Housed animals of all kinds need adequate fresh air.
Those who allow their animals in the barnyard to roam about and forage have healthier birds. This is how most preppers raise their birds. We know how important it is to treat the animals with regard to their health instead of only trying to get the biggest meat birds or most eggs. There is a trade-off, but it is worth it to make sure the flock and humans are healthy. The consequences of not providing proper care to the flock can be costly.
Which brings us to the concept of putting distance between the home and the flock. It is important to keep the flock in a location as far away from the home as is possible. If you have to take a little hike to look after them, good. It is better for you and them. If you want to see what they are doing and if they are safe, add one or two security cameras to the pen and barn. Then you will know if there are foxes in the hen house day and night. The distance from the coop and good hygiene and safety practices will help prevent the risk of salmonella or other livestock related diseases.
Let’s not let prepper flocks become a source of concern as the global poultry industry, including China’s recent H7N9 outbreak that caused many farmers to panic and destroy their flocks.
Last month’s news about H7N9 virus (avian flu) in Chinese flocks brings to light the differences between a family farm and a commercial operation, not only in China, but around the world.
Given that commercial farms often raise fowl in large buildings with little wiggle room, it is no surprise that diseases spread through a flock quickly. The fear of H7N9 virus infecting humans who tend them and then spread through the human population caused Chinese farmers to decide to destroy their flocks of chickens, ducks, and all manner of fowl.
The possibility of finding H7N9 in the Chinese farmers’ flocks seem to bring panic to these farmers with good reason, as you will see in the following video.
It seems they have good reason to act out of fear. Make sure you read the subtitles clear to the end. You may have to click pause to read all of them since they go by at the speed of the speaker.