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AI preparedness and responsde in France, as summarized by Dr Petit, the President of the AFVPZ (French zoo vets association).
The attachment is a photo of AI holding for flamingos.

 

French zoos situation and measures:

* November 2005 : biosecurity measures = isolation of birds so that no
contact (direct or indirect) is possible with wild birds and no transfer in.

* February 2006: one "positive" area with many wild birds + one turkey farm
and another "positive" area with only one wild bird.

* March 2006: medical measures = vaccination of birds in zoos (and domestic
ducks and geese in 3 "départements"). 500 zoo birds must be sampled three
times in order to verify the antibody response after vaccination.

Additionally, a study on antibody longevity on 350 zoo birds was decided on
our own (AFVPZ = French zoo vets association), these birds will also be
sampled after 6 and 9 months.

Application of biosecurity measures was controlled by local vet authorities
but exceptions were made for several species such as flamingos, pelicans,
penguins, ducks, geese and ratites for welfare reasons, lack of adequate
housing, infections and traumatisms risks. However, most of these birds were
vaccinated.

In the "positive" area with many wild birds and one turkey, a zoo had to
close to visitors. As they exhibited their water birds on natural ponds,
they decided to drain them off so that wild birds were not attracted to this
area and they really isolated 100% of their collection birds.

In other zoos, specific isolation enclosures were sometimes built (costing
up to 60 000 euros in one case), but most establishments used already
existing facilities after some adaptations. Others rented tents or buildings
that can be dismantled. We did here in La Palmyre for our colony of 300
Chilean flamingoes, you can see it on the attached document.

Consequences of these isolation measures: deaths were recorded to
infections, traumatisms and feeding behaviour changes.

Overall, 27000 zoo birds were vaccinated in 134 establishments.

On average, 91 % of the collection birds were effectively vaccinated in 23
zoos answering to a questionnaire. Exceptions were made and accepted by
local vet authorities for very small species, rare species and in some
instances for birds kept all year round in inside aviaries.

100 % of the zoos recorded traumatisms and stress related deaths during the
vaccination campaign (on average, 0,61 % of the collection birds died in the
23 zoos answering to the questionnaire) . Most establishments also recorded
a decrease of the breeding results due to these disturbing activities.

At last, this crisis led to a decrease in visitor attendance everywhere.

* In April-May, after vaccination and because the epidemiological risk
decreased, it was decided to exhibit the birds outside again.

Now, we have to vaccinate the 2006 born birds and the newly arrived
specimens in September. We should now organize the annual booster
vaccination on the whole collection in December/January so that it does not
interfere with the next breeding season.

In March 2006, we theoretically had to isolate and vaccinate our collection
birds. The new concept is now to consider that vaccinated birds may be
exhibited outside as formerly done. However, we must observe what will be
done in Germany where a dead swan was found positive in Dresden zoo and in
the Netherlands where 4 owls died to AI in Rotterdam zoo where they were
born...

I hope these few comments will be of help, do not hesitate to contact me
again on this issue.

Kind regards,

Thierry

Dr T. PETIT
Vétérinaire
Zoo de La Palmyre
17570 Les Mathes
Tél +33 (0)5 46 22 46 06
Fax +33 (0)5 46 23 62 97
veto@zoo-palmyre.fr

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