Back to Prevention, Safety Measures
If you are a typical American consumer, you don’t see chickens, turkeys and domesticated ducks roaming around your community.
But if you live in many parts of Asia, that’s exactly what you would see.
Poultry in Asia are in many cases allowed to run at large and are not protected from wild waterfowl or other birds that may be carrying viruses such as avian influenza. Extensive contact between domesticated and wild birds is believed to be the biggest way in which the avian influenza virus has spread.
We don’t do it that way in the United States. Chickens and turkeys are kept in modern production systems that protect them from wild birds and other potential sources of infection. Chickens and turkeys typically live their entire lives until they are harvested without seeing more than a few human beings.
The farm families who take care of the birds make sure that proper precautions are taken to maintain the health of the flocks.
Both animal and human forms of avian influenza have spread in Asia because of the very different conditions there. Over half the human cases have occurred in Vietnam, which is a less-developed country. In Vietnam and other Asian countries, it is common for people to keep their own birds and slaughter them themselves, even infected ones. If the birds are carrying the avian influenza virus, it can be spread to the humans.
In the United States, good flock management and proper veterinary care keeps birds safe from problems like avian influenza. The industry here is totally different from the very traditional systems used in Asia.