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Avian Influenza Impacts the Broiler Segment of the U.S. Industry

11/07/2023

 

An outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in a flock of 30,000 broiler breeder pullets was diagnosed in Madison County, AR. on October 31st. An outbreak in the same county occurred in October 2022 suggesting a high risk from migratory waterfowl congregating in the county.  On April 2nd an outbreak occurred on a farm rearing 48,000 broiler breeders in Marshall County AL.

 

A previous outbreak of HPAI affecting a large upland game bird farm with 310,000 birds on October 27th in Chilton County, AL., while not directly involving commercial broilers will create problems in exporting to countries that have imposed restrictions on entire states that report avian influenza. While recognizing that game birds in flight pens are more susceptible to HPAI than confined commercial flocks, it would be helpful if USDA conducted an epidemiologic study on the pullet rearing farms to determine how the virus infected the flocks. Were these cases due to obvious deficiencies in biosecurity such as contaminated vaccination crews or other factors or was possible aerosol transmission involved?  This information is needed in November 2023, not in a subsequent 2024 report.