Counting the Cost of Low-Path Bird Flu in Mexico07 August 2013
MEXICO - The price tag of avian influenza’s less famed sibling - low- pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N2) in Mexico was explored at a poultry veterinary meeting in Chicago, US in July 2013.
Last summer, Mexico witnessed what is considered the costliest poultry outbreak ever when highly pathogenic AI H7N3 was confirmed in layers.
Speaking at the recent 150th annual meeting of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), Armando Mirande of Supervet, Inc. said that government and industry worked together to implement a series of control measures that slowed down but did not avoid spread of this virus into other major poultry areas. Ironically, this same scenario has previously occurred in Mexico with AI H5N2 virus, which became endemic throughout the country since 1995 in its lowly pathogenic form and at a higher cost to the local industry over the last 18 years.
This less dramatic disease is seldom discussed in open forums, but its impact on live production parameters is well recognized amongst Mexican production veterinarians and company owners alike. Low path AI H5N2 in Mexico has demonstrated a predictable pattern from its consistent behavior in sickening flocks, varied in severity only by season, altitude, confounding infections or vaccination status.
Despite a lack of published data, Dr Mirande made an effort to estimate the direct cost of this condition through different channels, including nine years of working experience in Mexico.
Also, he obtained confidential information on the total number of doses of AI vaccine sold each year directly from each manufacturer to establish better its prevalence.
Loss of productivity in the Mexican poultry industry and the eminent loss of exporting privileges demonstrate that a new approach to the control of this disease is long overdue and alternative options will be discussed, he concluded.
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