HPAI Summary Presentation for Lancaster Panel Discussion
On October 15, 2015, APPPA and PASA co-hosted a highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) panel discussion for pastured poultry producers in Lancaster, PA. The panel included; Mike Badger, executive director of APPPA; Susan Beal, holistic DVM; and Patty Dunn, avian pathologist at Penn State University and DVM; Craig Shultz, State Veterinarian at Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
This is the summary presentation provided by Dr. Shultz. If you want to understand the fear associated with this virus, pay attention to the costs outlined in this presentation. Also relevant is the definition of the control and surveillance zones.
The historical, observed data as reported by the USDA indicates that HPAI favors intensely confined flocks. As of October 14, 21 of 219 HPAI detections were labeled as backyard. In terms of numbers, the individual backyard birds totaled 9,673 of the more than 48 million infected total birds. We should understand that USDA's classification of backyard doesn't assume outdoor flocks. Backyard is a catch-all categorization.
When we dig deeper, we see that 5,830 of the backyard birds belong to two individual flocks (one mixed game fowl and one pheasant flock). We also know, as it was reported during the panel discussion that some of the employees on the infected commercial barns also had personal flocks at home that became infected with HPAI.
All the numbers are there to demonstrate the risk or relatively minimal risk to pastured flocks. The fear is unfounded.