The last reported case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in the U.S. was on April 18, 2023, more than three months ago. Is it time for the poultry industry to let down its guard? “I don’t think that anybody can give you a crystal ball and tell you for sure what’s going to happen in the future,” John R. Clifford, veterinary trade policy advisor, USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC), explained at the 2023 Chicken Marketing Summit.

Dr. John Clifford

Preventing future HPAI losses

The current H5N1 strain of HPAI infected wild birds in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa and has caused record losses of domestic poultry in Europe and North America. More recently, cases were reported in South America as well.

Biosecurity is the best way to prevent the spread of HPAI, Clifford warned. These measures include perimeter barrier areas, personal protective equipment (PPE) and manure and litter management.

Investing in biosecurity is a better tool than vaccinations, which could impact trade, mask the disease and slow identification.

“It will not eradicate HPAI by itself. It will help reduce HPAI, but it will not eradicate it. The best way to eradicate it is prevention,” he added.

The 2024 Chicken Marketing Summit will be held at the Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa in Birmingham, Alabama, on July 29-31, 2024.