Boehringer Ingelheim Poultry Forum Explores the Latest Science, Strategies and Unmet Needs for Avian Influenza Control05 April 2017
GREECE - Boehringer Ingelheim, a global leader in animal health, is hosting a two-day forum in Athens, Greece, to share expertise and information on the impact of Avian Influenza around the world and critical control strategies to fight its spread.
Nearly 300 attendees from 30 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Turkey are meeting to share the latest science, experiences and viewpoints on ways to curtail the continued emergence and impact of Avian Influenza.
Also called avian flu or bird flu, Avian Influenza is a highly contagious viral disease affecting several species of food-producing birds, as well as pet and wild birds. Various strains exist, and new strains continue to be detected, impacting birds as well as humans. The virus is not predicted to decelerate in coming years, and outbreaks of Avian Influenza continue to be a global public health concern.
According to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), Avian Influenza was identified in 77 countries in the form of 13 different strains from January 2014 to November 2016, leading to the destruction of hundreds of millions of domestic birds. Avian Influenza can have a significant negative impact on countries with infected birds, including immense losses to the economy, production levels, egg and meat prices, jobs, the restaurant and tourism industries, as well as human health.
Boehringer Ingelheim has a long history of partnering with poultry producers worldwide to protect flocks through powerful vaccines and technical services. The company is investing in a range of R&D programs to develop innovative solutions to fight infectious diseases that continue to threaten the poultry industry, including various strains of bird flu.
According to Dr. Haitham Malkawi, Head of Avian Emerging Markets for Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health: “The presence and threat of Avian Influenza continues to be commonplace throughout many countries, with devastating financial effects. New flu outbreaks will continue to occur unless there is a significant shift in control strategy approaches. Vaccination is a critical tool in the strategic implementation of AI programs, which also should include biosecurity, sanitation, diagnostics and monitoring. Through education, collaboration with our customers, and the application of the best available strategies, Boehringer Ingelheim aims to reduce the impact of Avian Influenza around the world.”
In an opening forum session today, Rabobank Animal Protein Senior Analyst Nan-Dirk Mulder discussed the endemic status of Avian Influenza, the global economic impact of the disease, the challenges facing poultry producers, and the need to adjust business models to combat this significant threat to poultry health.
Another key presentation today by Dr. David E. Swayne from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) discussed the importance of vaccination and other control strategies against Avian Influenza. According to Dr. Swayne, critical improvements have been made in recent years against high pathogenicity avian influenza (HPAI) due to integrated control strategies, including vaccination, rapid diagnosis, rapid depopulation, surveillance, emergency response plans, and the regionalization of the world’s poultry trade.
Other interactive discussions led by scientific researchers, regulatory authorities and industry leaders focus on virus evolution and epidemiology; virus interaction with other pathogens, control and cross-protection strategies, and currently available Avian Influenza vaccines. In addition, speakers are sharing testimonials of effective vaccination strategies in the United Arab Emirates, Iran, Egypt and Morocco.
Boehringer Ingelheim is the leading global provider of vaccines to combat Avian Influenza, with more than 3 billion doses sold globally in 2016 against the three most common virus strains. The company, which in January combined its product portfolio and technical services teams with Merial, provides multiple vaccines targeting strains of H5, H7 and H9 Avian Influenza in various regions of the world. The company, with the addition of Merial, has a 30-year history of partnering with poultry producers worldwide to improve the health and productivity of their flocks through high-quality vaccines and onsite vaccination technology and services. Its portfolio of avian vaccines protects birds against 20 different diseases worldwide.