Avian influenza expected across entire US for fall
The US is preparing for the “worst-case scenario” of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza present in all US flyways during the fall of 2015, explained John Clifford, DVM, chief veterinary officer of the United States, speaking at the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) meeting, reported Watt AgNet.
This scenario would involve the infection of all poultry sectors — broilers, turkeys and egg layers including broiler production regions of the southeastern US — with costs topping out at an estimated $1 to $2 billion.
According to Clifford, transmission and infection levels have changed with presence of high-path avian influenza in wild ducks around the world causing outbreaks that are not easily contained. “We need to work together and close the gaps in biosecurity in order to protect our industry and the health and economic well-being of our entire nation,” says Clifford.
Currently the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is working on a comprehensive plan including biosecurity measures and vaccine protocols that are expected to cost the government and the poultry industry millions of dollars.
Clifford also addressed vaccination plans and scenarios. “If high-path avian influenza is found in 10 to 12 to 14 poultry producing states across the US and we are seeing what we are seeing today, we are probably going to use a vaccine in that kind of scenario.”
The US is currently working to develop new trade protocols that will allow for the sale and movement of vaccinated poultry product from disease-free zones using a Differentiating Infected from Vaccinated Animals (DIVA) strategy.