Health

Background 3968 views 3 commentsupdate:Mar 9, 2016

AI causes headaches around the world

While it is not unusual for the avian influenza virus to circulate, particularly among wild birds, the recent upsurge in outbreaks worldwide is a cause of headaches around the world. No less than 35 countries combated outbreaks involving different strains since early 2014 and tens of millions of birds were culled or died from the disease.

After a relatively small outbreak of H5N8 the United States are facing an ongoing epidemic of avian influenza H5N2, and H5N1 continues to be endemic in Egypt, while new cases have occurred in Israel and Palestine in the last weeks. In short, alarm bells are ringing everywhere and expensive lessons are being learned when it comes to control and eradication.

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AI causes 'staggering' impact on US exports
Although no detections of highly pathogenic avian influenza have been recorded in the US for more than seven weeks, the toll the virus has taken on the US poultry and egg industry this year is staggering.

Being confronted with the task of culling millions of birds, sometimes on one farm location, without risk of spreading the disease is a huge undertaking. And production and export of poultry products suffer gravely.

Biosecurity not a barrier for AI outbreaks

The new reality of the current situation, and what gives the most headaches, is that countries without a history of large outbreaks are affected. Poultry that was kept indoors in Europe fell ill, farms with reasonably strict biosecurity in the US were hit and so on.

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AI outbreak costing UK poultry industry dearly
Lost export markets are costing the UK poultry sector dear following the outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza on an egg farm in Lancashire last month.

It is an illusion that even stronger farm biosecurity measures will prevent all future outbreaks. Avian influenza is something the poultry industry has to get used to. That said, improvement in implementing standards for early detection, rapid response to outbreaks, prevention, control and biosecurity will act as an aspirin.

3 comments

  • dare mayor

    AI posed a major challenge to poultry industry but following a proper biosecurity measures can still reduce the virus to non infectious level. Apart from this, with the continous scientific research to tackled the manace there will still be a lasting solution to curb the virus disease some day.

  • Maher Ali Alazab

    Very true, it's a real overview 

  • Bart Stokvis


    Strict biosecurity is key in the prevention of AI. Unfortunately, biosecurity often is only 'reasonably strict'.

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