Section 4. Surveillance and Reporting

Site: Extension Foundation Online Campus
Course: Avian Influenza Biosecurity for Youth and 4-H Members
Book: Section 4. Surveillance and Reporting
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Date: Saturday, July 20, 2024, 2:13 AM


1. Vaccination
2. Registration
3. Exhibits, Fairs, and Shows
4. Surveillance and Monitoring
5. Reporting Disease


Vaccination is the introduction of a weakened or killed microbe into the body in order to stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies against that microbe, in order to prevent diseases.17

Currently, there are two main types of poultry vaccines for avian influenza. However, since avian influenza is not commonly found in the U.S. and vaccination is not 100% effective, AI vaccination is generally not recommended. Practicing good biosecurity is your best approach to preventing avian influenza as well as other diseases.

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has made the decision to not use any existing poultry vaccines to fight the current 2014-2015 AI outbreak.  For more information on the USDA's decision, visit Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza and Vaccine Use.

For additional tips visit on vaccination, visit Vaccination and Medication Programs for Small Poultry Flocks


CDC Photo Library: Jim Gathany


To control diseases such as avian influenza, most states require backyard flock owners to register their flocks. Inquire about registration with your state's Department of Agriculture. Registration may include chickens, turkeys, ratites, waterfowl, game birds, and homing pigeons. 18

Click here to find your state's Department of Agriculture site.

Exhibits, Fairs, and Shows

Even though avian influenza can be spread from bird to bird, it is acceptable to take your birds to shows and fairs. You should choose shows and fairs that are clean, spacious, and make disease prevention a top priority.

It is recommended that you isolate show birds for at least 2-3 weeks after returning from a fair so you can look for signs of disease.

State departments of agriculture have developed requirements for exhibitors as the possibility of disease transmission increases when large number of animals gather for exhibition.  Check with your state's Department of Agriculture for more information on exhibitor requirements.

ARS: Keith Weller

Surveillance and Monitoring

Surveillance and monitoring are key factors in early detection as it lowers the risk of the spread of disease and leads to better response times. Do your part to prevent the spread of avian influenza and check your bird's health daily.

Personal Surveillance and Monitoring:10
1) Know the Signs of AI.
  • Decreased activity, ruffled feathers, poor appetite, diarrhea.
  • Decreased egg production, soft shells or misshapen eggs.
  • Swelling of the head, eyelids, comb, wattles and hocks.
  • Cyanosis (dark blue color) of comb and wattles, sneezing, or nasal discharge.
  • Sudden death.
2) Inspect your flocks daily.

3) Wear gloves when handling a sick bird. The sick bird should be placed in isolation for 30 days away from other birds.

4) Contact your vet if your birds have serious signs of AI as described above.

Tracheal Swab
Photo Credit: Dr. Nathaniel Tablante

National and International Surveillance and Monitoring:
USDA APHIS and similar government agencies work closely with international organizations to assist avian influenza affected countries with disease prevention, management, and eradication activities. By helping these countries monitor, manage, and eradicate highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 outbreaks, USDA can reduce the risk of the disease spreading from overseas to the United States.3
  • USDA conducts avian influenza surveillance programs including the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) and the Smuggling Interdiction and Trade Compliance (SITC).
  • The National Center of Import Export (NCIE) requires all imported live birds, except from Canada, to undergo a minimum 30 day quarantine period where they are tested for avian influenza before entering the country.
  • Poultry and eggs from countries with HPAI H5N1 are not imported into the U.S.

Reporting Disease


If you notice signs of avian influenza, call your local or state veterinarian or contact the USDA through their free hotline at 1-800-536-7593.

A team of federal and state advisers will evaluate the situation and determine if avian influenza is present within 24 hours.3


You are the first line of defense for your birds and practicing good biosecurity makes you the most important protection your birds have. Help keep your birds strong and healthy and free of disease by following the three biosecurity rules, isolation, traffic control, and decontamination. After completing quiz 4, test your avian influenza knowledge by returning to the main page and clicking on the final exam. Good Luck!!


Second Life

Want to get some hands on practice? Then come have some fun with our online Backyard Flock. Check out the website here. (Must be 16 or older)

Section 4. Quiz