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US poultry vets: Disease control and food safety identified as future research priorities

More research is needed to develop vaccines and strategies to tackle poultry disease and reduce food safety issues linked to poultry production, according to surveys aiming to better understand the needs of practicing poultry veterinarians.

by 5m Editor
14 November 2019, at 10:06am

Surveys carried out by the American Association of Avian Pathologists (AAAP) found veterinarians working across the broiler, egg and turkey sectors believe food safety should be a high-priority area for future research, alongside vaccine and pharmaceutical development.

Carried out by the AAAP’s Research Priorities Committee, the surveys aimed to understand the issues veterinarians working in the poultry industry are facing in the field and how research can help address those challenges.

Having traditionally identified sector priorities through its allied groups, including the Association of Veterinarians in Broiler Production and the Association of Poultry Primary Breeder Veterinarians, this year the committee streamlined its process to focus on three areas.

By creating a standard survey for broiler, egg and turkey commodity groups, the committee has been able to better understand the sectors’ needs and how research might help address any challenges.

While all groups highlighted food safety research, vaccines and pharmaceuticals as high-priority research areas, the survey also revealed specific needs of different sectors of the industry, committee member Natalie Armour, DVM, told Poultry Health Today.

“For broiler research priorities, there was a need for research on interventions for Salmonella and Campylobacter, as well as measures to evaluate the effects of those interventions,” said Armour, who is also a clinical professor of avian medicine at Mississippi State University.

The development of improved vaccines and prevention strategies for infectious bronchitis (IB) ranked high on both the broiler and egg lists, with interventions to prevent false layer syndrome and DMV 1639 - a strain of IB - identified as top research needs by veterinarians in egg production.

Control strategies for reovirus and histomoniasis ranked as important research priorities on both the broiler and turkey lists, Armour said.

“Reovirus is also a big research need for the turkey industry right now. They need vaccines, they need control interventions, they need diagnostic tools,” she added.

Additional topics which were identified as research priorities included improved tools to control Campylobacter, clostridial diseases, coccidiosis and infectious laryngotracheitis for broilers, infectious coryza for table-egg layers and Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale for turkeys.

The full list of research needs is due to be published on the AAAP’s website, and Armour said it is important people look at the listings and suggest other research areas which should be included in future surveys.

“What’s important [about these lists is] they are from the perspective of veterinarians in production,” she added. “They are seeing the real field issues, which is why we survey those groups.”

The results of the surveys will be reported to poultry-related research funding agencies, and the hope is they will take them into consideration when allocating funding.

“We will be communicating with researchers too, as we would like them to know what the industry needs,” Armour said. “[That way] the research becomes very applied and applicable to real-world problems.”