Arm & Hammer Animal and Food Production
poultry farm

Three key considerations for navigating the avian influenza outbreak.

Posted May 10, 2022 by Dr. Mueez Ahmad, Poultry Technical Services Manager
Poultry

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) is once again on the radar for poultry facilities across the country as the industry faces another outbreak. While the highly contagious virus is of critical concern, there are proven strategies you can implement to help mitigate the spread of HPAI. In addition to standard biosecurity measures, here are three key considerations complex managers should keep top of mind while navigating a nationwide outbreak.

1. Biosecurity is everyone’s responsibility.

Biosecurity is both a top-to-bottom and bottom-to-top strategy—everyone entering the complex plays a key role in the effectiveness of biosecurity protocols. Therefore, it’s critical that each person has a thorough understanding of biosecurity plans and is aware of the risk factors for HPAI. Ensuring good biosecurity practices are a part of your standard operations means that during periods of heightened risk, your entire team is already well-versed in procedures and expectations.

2. Consider the risk assessment status of each facility.

When the presence of HPAI is first confirmed in wild birds, the biosecurity approach and mindset must change. Each facility has its own unique risk factors which vary greatly from location to location. Biosecurity measures should be customized accordingly. Considering factors such as seasonality, proximity to migration routes or bodies of water, and distance of neighboring commercial or backyard flocks helps determine your own risk level. Identifying vulnerable points in your system before avian influenza is present allows you to make the appropriate changes to mitigate risk.

3. Trust the protocols.

The industry has come a long way in combatting HPAI. Ten years ago, we didn’t have the tools and the knowledge that today allow us to be prepared for outbreaks and act quickly. Biosecurity is the best tool we have to address HPAI outbreaks—no other tool available is as comprehensively effective when utilized correctly. When protocols are strictly followed, outbreaks can be prevented or contained quickly.

 

The bottom line: refining biosecurity procedures across your team, understanding and optimizing for your facility’s unique risks, and adhering to trusted best practices can all help mitigate the risk of avian influenza.

 

To learn more about mitigating the risk of avian influenza, be sure to listen to Dr. Ahmad’s recent episode of Food Chain Chats or contact your ARM & HAMMER representative today.

 

 

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