Avian Influenza and Biosecurity

Mohamed El-Gazzar, DVM, MAM, PhD, DACPV

Assistant Professor and Poultry Extension Veterinarian, Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University

It has been a little bit over 2 years since the beginning of the largest Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) outbreak in North America (NA). The virus that caused such outbreak was genetically identified to be a mix between North American and Eurasian Avian Influenza (AI) viruses. Wild migratory birds are thought to play a prominent role in bringing that virus to NA. While the last case of commercial poultry from that outbreak was reported in late spring of 2015, AI continues to be a threat to the poultry population (commercial and noncommercial) in NA. The clearest evidence of that threat materialized in another HPAI outbreak in January of 2016 that affected the commercial poultry industry. Different from 2015 outbreak, the 2016 outbreak evolved from a purely NA virus. It also seems that the Eurasian virus did not disappear from NA; as it has been isolated from wild mallard ducks in two different occasions from two different locations (Alaska, August and Montana, December) in 2016.

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