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Bird Flu is Top Disease Concern in Asia

by 5m Editor
1 April 2009, at 12:00am

Interviews with some of the leading exhibitors in the special show sector, Eggs!, at VIV Asia in Bangkok in March revealed that avian influenza remains top of the list of disease concerns in Asia, reports Jackie Linden, editor of ThePoultrySite.

"Of course, for an animal health company such as Intervet/Schering Plough Animal Health, controlling poultry diseases is our foremost concern. For Asia, the main disease that will continue to have an impact on the industry in several Asian countries will be avian influenza, despite the fact that major accomplishments have been made in the control of the disease," answered Ruud Aerdts when he was asked about the leading disease concerns of the egg industry in Asia.

Mr Aerdt's opinion was echoed by all the other interviewees who represented different sectors of the egg industry.

Mr McCawley of Big Dutchman highlighted the potentially drastic effects of the disease throughout the industry and across the world. "[Avian influenza] affects the industry as it causes reduced consumer demand, which has a direct impact on prices. Everyone in the supply chain – from manufacturers to farm managers – is, of course, forced to react to the persisting danger of avian influenza. And it is not only an issue of local concern but can easily affect the entire industry on a worldwide scale."

P. Degraeve of Petersime also identified avian influenza as the disease most harmful to his company's customers. "The potential negative impact of AI on hatchery operations and poultry integrators is devastating since it threatens all segments of the poultry production pyramid: breeding stock, commercial layers and commercial broilers alike," he said. He also raised the impact on consumer confidence and demand, saying, "A sustained drop in poultry consumption would no doubt slow down or even halt all capital expenditure in the hatchery industry."

"Avian influenza still remains a major threat since it not only causes damage to flocks impacting productivity and high morbidity and mortality but also causes wide concern and panic in human population and has a negative impact on egg consumption," said Dr D. Joardar of Novus International.

Dr R. Preisinger from Lohmann Tierzucht agreed. He said, "Our major concern still is, without a doubt, avian influenza."

He emphasised how the disease has changed the industry. "The industry is trying to cope with this problem by eradication and vaccination. Therefore, it is imperative that all producers improve their biosecurity. After all, prevention is definitely better than cure," he explained.

Paul Buisman of Moba agreed with the other interviewees, whilst also mentioning foodborne bacteria as a significant concern to the egg processing industry. "Producers of egg handling, packing and processing equipment fear those diseases most that will influence consumers' behaviour. Compared to Salmonella problems that have proven to be a negative perception of poultry and eggs, avian influenza is certainly the most feared disease," he said.

Two of those interviewed mentioned other disease concerns. "Newcastle disease is frequently encountered; mostly, subclinical manifestations are observed. Chicken anaemia is another emerging disease, which, in spite of vaccination, is seen frequently," commented Dr Joardar.

Mr Aerdts explained, "Other diseases that are playing a role are respiratory diseases such as Newcastle disease, infectious bronchitis, mycoplasma and infectious laryngotracheitis. Fortunately, innovative disease control tools are becoming available, enabling the industry to control these diseases in a safe and effective way.

"Consumers will increasingly demand meat and eggs that are free from contamination with food-borne pathogens such as Salmonella. The animal health industry is able to offer the poultry industry support by developing vaccines that can help poultry producers to improve the food safety aspects of their products. Preventative measures also reduce the need for treatment," said Mr Aerdts of Intervet/Schering Plough Animal Health.

March 2009

Further Reading

- Find out more information on the diseases mentioned in this article by clicking here.