WATT PoultryUSA - October 2015 - 44

44 ❙ WATT POULTRY USA

■ ANALYSIS: AVIAN INFLUENZA

Analysis: How the Dutch control avian influenza, www.WATTAgNet.com/articles/22838
Lessons for the U.S. poultry industry
Each outbreak of infectious disease in the poultry
industry is a little bit different. Time of year
and weather conditions can play a role;
viruses, particularly influenza viruses,
change and mutate; biosecurity practices vary; and the density and type
of farms varies from one region to
another. All of these factors can play a
role in determining whether an outbreak
affects a few farms or many more.
This year's avian influenza outbreak in the
U.S. is by far the most costly in the country's history
and took months to control, while the outbreaks in
Western Europe in 2014-15 involved very few farms.
Why?
One possible explanation is that the viruses are different. The H5N2 and H5N1 viruses that have wreaked
havoc on the U.S. poultry industry are the result of a
hybridization of North American viruses and the H5N8
virus of Asian origin. The EU outbreak viruses are much
closer genetically to the original H5N8 viruses from Asia
than the current U.S. strains are.
There are also two big differences in how the outbreaks were handled in the U.S. and in the EU. First,

infected flocks were put down more quickly in the EU
than they were in the U.S. Some of the explanation for
this is the higher bird counts on many of the infected U.S.
farms and because many of the layers were housed
in cages and they weren't in the EU farms. If the
U.S. industry plans to continue to house millions
of birds in cages at one location, then it is going
to have to devise a way to euthanize that number
of birds quickly. Having hundreds of thousands
or even millions of birds shedding virus while plans
are being devised to cull them isn't a risk that the industry can take again.
The second difference in how the outbreaks were
handled is that EU countries were more rigid on stopping all movement of poultry and poultry products at the
start of the outbreaks. Presentations from U.S. speakers
talked about the thousands of permits issued for movements as a means of control, but were movements ever
frozen entirely? If they had been when the first farm in a
region was found to be infected, what impact would that
have had on the spread of the virus? Egg breaking companies were especially hard hit in the U.S. outbreak.
Were all egg movements frozen when the first farm
broke with the virus? What impact might that have
had on the outbreak? ■

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www.WATTAgNet.com ❙ October 2015


http://www.WATTAgNet.com/articles/22838 http://www.detroitradiant.com http://www.WATTAgNet.com

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