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Welcome to this weeks newsletter
We start this week in Vietnam, where three months ago, the government announced a strict ban on the raising of ducks, which are believed to be the primary reservoir of the bird-flu virus.
Yet, on one Vietnamese farm all of the 8,200 ducks were born after the ban but the owner is not worried by the possibility of government inspectors, reports TheGlobeAndMail. Vietnam's inability to enforce its own health rules helps explain why the bird-flu threat is so persistent, the report goes on to say.
There is likely to be another full-blown outbreak of bird flu this year in Vietnam, where 36 people have died from the disease since late 2003, a health expert warned last Thursday.
The deadly H5N1 virus could be dormant and resurface as the weather warmed, Central Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology deputy director Pham Ngoc Dinh told the official English-language daily, Vietnam News. The virus "is still in faeces, ash and other waste, not to mention the poultry carrying the disease," Dinh said.
Doctor Pham Van Diu, director of the Center of Preventive Medicine in Thai Binh, the site of three bird flu "cluster" outbreaks this year, is in the front line of the battle. "It is a big jigsaw puzzle and there is not just one piece missing but many pieces missing," he says.
He says strict measures to control movement of poultry, isolation of cases and public awareness allowing early diagnosis have helped Vietnam control the spread for the moment. Diu said last year 1.5 million birds were slaughtered in a cull of the sick. In the first three months of this year, only 15,000 have been slaughtered.
The Vietnamese government has repeatedly urged the people not to let up their efforts to fight the spread of bird flu although the rapidly-spreading disease has been contained after ravaging poultry for several months since late December 2004, according to bernama.com.my.
The disease set the national GDP growth rate back 0.5%, equivalent to 3,000 billion VND ($189,000,000), including 1,300 billion VND of direct losses from infected and culled poultry.
In North Korea, the recent outbreak of avian influenza has been successfully contained, FAO said last week, urging the country to continue surveillance on the affected farms and elsewhere to ensure that no residual infection remains.
"The virus appears to have been eliminated from the three infected farms by combining culling of around 218 000 infected chickens, vaccination of unaffected birds in unaffected poultry houses and strict biosecurity measures," said FAO consultant Les Sims.
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After four years of negotiations, Taiwan is likely to become the first Asian nation to export poultry products to the US. The USDA sent six technicians to Taiwan a week ago to examine the regulations and manufacturing processes of the island's poultry industry. The requirements for poultry products are scrutinized closely by authorities in the U.S. Currently, there are only six countries allowed to ship poultry to the U.S.
Starting in 2005, Taiwan has lifted the quota on U.S. poultry imports to the island, a move that severely impacted the local businesses. Because of the U.S. customers' preference for chicken breasts, the unwanted chicken thighs and drumsticks were exported en mass to the Taiwan market.
In the US, Illinois farmers enjoyed returns in 2004 that were significantly above the average for the last five years, according to a University of Illinois Extension study.
"Relatively high livestock prices also contributed to the better incomes on livestock farms. However, Lattz warned that there could be trouble on the horizon. "Farm earnings could drop significantly in 2005 if we return to more average yields without a significant increase in grain prices," he said
A new study suggests that Canada geese can pick up and shed antibiotic-resistant pathogens, potentially making them an effective winged delivery network for so-called superbugs. The research highlights a way of spreading antibiotic-resistant organisms that hasn't been previously studied.
"If you have a multidrug-resistant salmonella being shed by a horse in Georgia, and a goose happens to eat in that pasture and then fly up to Kentucky or Ontario, then maybe you can get quick dissemination of these bugs," says Dr. Scott Weese, a veterinarian who specializes in antimicrobial resistance at the Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph.
The Golden Harvest Agronomy Up Front Research team is working with researchers at Iowa State University to study the influence of corn kernel characteristics on swine, poultry broiler and poultry layer performance, says Wayne Fithian, Golden Harvest agronomy systems manager.
This feeding trial could demonstrate an important set of kernel traits that can be used to predict the best hybrids for feeding swine and poultry, the researchers say.
Aviagen International Group Inc., the world's leading poultry meat science company, has been acquired by Erich Wesjohann GmbH & Co., the leader in poultry science for the egg layer industry.
Each of these leaders represents important genetic knowledge and research resources in their respective fields of poultry science. Erich Wesjohann commented, "The combination of Aviagen and the Wesjohann Group creates a strongly diversified life science group for poultry applications.
In the EU, bird flu outbreaks and fierce competition from overseas rivals means Europe may see a fall in animal feed production this year. Feed production in Europe has been on the decline for the past 10 years.
EU production of compound feed fell last year by 1.5% to 139.7 million tonnes from 2003. Bird flu is also a top concern for the poultry sector, because each time there is a new outbreak, the demand for chicken falls, leading to a fall in feed. In addition, quarantine restrictions hinder the transport of feed materials.
EU agriculture commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel has issued a staunch defence of the live export trade, rejecting calls from her native Denmark for the elimination of export subsidies on cattle.
The demand was made at last week's farm council in Luxembourg by Danish agriculture minister Hans Christian Schmidt, who called for the complete removal of refunds on animals intended for slaughter in the Lebanon and Egypt. This, he said, was a misuse of EU funds and undermined animal welfare, a position that won the support of Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden and Luxembourg.
In the UK, stakeholders are to review the performance of the National Fallen Stock Company over the next two months, reports FWi.
The aim of the review is to identify the causes of the problems farmers have experienced with the company's services in some areas and to find ways to overcome the difficulties.
Australian scientists are developing new methods for detecting insect-borne livestock diseases soon after they enter northern Australia. CSIRO Livestock Industries' Dr David Boyle says the three-year project, funded by the Australian Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre, will provide training in the use of rapid detection techniques such as microarrays to identify and characterise viruses isolated as part of the National Arbovirus Monitoring Program (NAMP).
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We have 2 features this week.
Fighting Campylobacter in Turkeys by Going to the Source
By The Food Safety Consortium - The pathogen Campylobacter, Dan Donoghue says, is “a very interesting organism.” His team recently found that it occurs naturally in turkeys’ male and female reproductive tracts.
UK Poultry and Poultrymeat Statistics - April 2005
By Defra - This monthly publication combines information from the UK Hatcheries Survey and Poultry Slaughterhouse Survey results together with other Defra statistics, and trade data, pulling all ‘official’ poultry statistics in one publication.
VIROCID - The Global Disinfectant
That's all for this week.
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