News 3 commentsupdate:Mar 9, 2016

US poultry sector tightens biosecurity

The US government is looking to tighten biosecurity on poultry farms following what has been described “as the worst animal disease outbreak in history,” delegates heard at the International Egg Commission’s global leadership conference in Berlin.

Chad Gregory, president of US-based United Egg Producers, said the US department of agriculture was leading a biosecurity effort that would include on-farm self-assessment and, potentially, an on-farm audit following the devastating avian influenza outbreak earlier this year.

Inefficiencies in biosecurity

Gregory said farmers had been shocked at how the virus had spread: "We thought biosecurity was good. It was good, but we realise now that it wasn't good enough."
The outbreak spread through the air, he added, but there is also evidence that it was passed to neighbouring holdings by farm vehicles. "It's something that I never want to see repeated."

One third of birds culled

The outbreak on 223 premises particularly affected the egg products market, where a third of the nation's birds were culled. It had cost the US government $1bn and up to 25m dozen eggs have been imported, mainly from Mexico and Europe, to help sustain the sector.
Disposing of the birds through burial, composting, incineration and landfill proved particularly difficult and time consuming, as was cleaning and disinfecting holdings.

European concerns

Strict biosecurity is also a priority in the UK and Europe. Arjan Stegeman, professor of Farm Animal Health at Utrecht University, said further outbreaks of highly pathogenic AI were inevitable due to the reservoir of the disease in wild birds.
Preventative measures could include indoor housing, especially in wetland and poultry-dense regions, and making free-range farms as unattractive as possible to wild birds.

Vaccination successes

Commenting on vaccination progress, Prof Stegeman said that, while it was proving successful in laboratory conditions, responses were less good in the field.
"We need a better response or otherwise we will get the same situation as in Egypt and China where vaccinated birds do not show clinical symptoms, but the virus is still being circulated."
The AI Summit followed the announcement that the IEC has set up an expert group to find practical ways to tackle the impact of AI.
Source:Poultry World

Farmers Weekly


  • Christophe Pelletier

    I have just returned from the Mid West. The AI outbreak has been quite traumatic. In the Animal Science Conference where I was one of the speakers, a discussion panel presented a review of the situation, made a list of the lessons learned and of new measures to prevent such a disaster to happen again.
    In my conversations, I got a feeling that much more could be achieved in terms of procedures and preventive measures.
    There should be more concerted action and more collaboration from around the world about disease outbreaks than is currently the case. I got too much of a feeling that they were sort of reinventing the wheel and being too unaware of what other regions did when facing similar problems. Of course, a crisis of this nature is never a good time to do some research about the experiences of others, but the consequences of such outbreaks are so severe and diseases can have a global outreach. There are lots of ideas out there and lots of experience, too. But the knowledge needs to circulate more so that the learning curve can be sped up and help take better measures faster and in more places yo prevent and deal with such difficult problems to tackle.

    of reinventing the wheel and also remaining anaware

  • Christophe Pelletier

    Just ignore that last bit of sentence in my previous comment. It got there by accident while breaking my thumbs on that tiny screen.

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