International Egg and Poultry Review: Spread of Avian Influenza

By the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service - This is a weekly report looking at international developments concerning the poultry industry, this week looking at the spread of Avian Influenza.
calendar icon 19 October 2005
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International Egg and Poultry Review - By the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service - This is a weekly report looking at international developments concerning the poultry industry, this week looking at the spread of Avian Influenza.

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N1 Continues to Spread

In October, Turkey and Romania became the latest countries to confirm the presence of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) subtype H5N1 in domestic poultry. The virus is the same strain as in Asia. HPAI has never been reported in Turkey and was last reported in 1942 in Romania.

In Turkey, an outbreak of HPAI was first reported in a flock of 4.5-monthold turkeys. The backyard flock was kept in a sparsely populated area and a 3-km-radious protection zone and a 10-km-radius surveillance zone were quickly established around the infected flock. The protection zone contains 7 farms, 2 of which had broiler poultry (a total of 15,907 birds). The broilers were slaughtered under official veterinary supervision in predetermined slaughter houses and the carcasses were stored.

The remaining 5 farms did not house poultry. According to the OIE, the transmission of the AI virus to humans by food consumption has not been reported. The virus in meat is killed by cooking at 70 degrees Celsius (158 degrees Fahrenheit) for several seconds.

Poultry farms in the surveillance zone were identified; military and police services set up roadblocks at the entrance to the region to check vehicles entering and exiting the protection and surveillance zones; selling live backyard poultry in local markets and hunting wild migratory birds in the region was prohibited.

In Romania, laboratory tests identified avian influenza H5N1. The Romanian Central Veterinary Authority set up a 3-km-radius protection zone and a 10-km-radius surveillance zone. Since H5N1 had been confirmed in Turkey, the European Commission had already been working on the assumption that the virus in Romania was H5N1 and appropriate measures with a surveillance zone had already been taken. On October 14, 2005 after two days of emergency talks, EU veterinary experts agreed to new measures to prevent H5N1 from entering the EU- 25. Precautionary measures include strengthening biosecurity measures on farms and introducing early detection systems in high risk areas such as wetlands or farms along migratory flyways. Member States will be required to prevent contact between wild birds and poultry in highrisk areas such as wetlands. This could include keeping poultry indoors in high risk areas. The EU was also sending experts to Bulgaria, which neighbors Romania and Turkey, after Bulgaria requested assistance. Bulgaria has increased custom checks, banned wild bird hunting and increased monitoring of migratory birds.

H5N1 was first reported in South Korea in December 2003, and was followed by outbreaks in Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam in January and February of 2004. Malaysia reported an outbreak of H5N1 in August, 2004. In July 2005, H5N1 appeared in Russia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia, followed by Tibet in August.
Source: World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), European Commission Press Release, FAO Technical Task Force on Avian Influenza, news wires

Romania's Poultry Industry

The Romanian poultry industry has been steadily expanding for the past five years. Poultry inventories were up 4 percent at the end of 2004, reaching 79.3 million at the end of 2004. Broiler meat production in industrial operations expanded by 11 percent, reaching 205,000 MT carcass weight at the end of the year. Romania has benefited from abundant feed grain and protein crops combined with high productivity, improved feed conversion ratio, and depressed mortality.

The seven largest operations account for about 50 percent of the country’s commercial production and there are numerous smaller farms producing 1,500 – 2,000 MT per year. Individual households count for roughly one third of poultry meat domestic consumption. In 2004, roughly 320,000 MT of broiler meat were sold domestically, equaling about 14 KG/capita per year. About 54,000 MT of poultry meat were consumed from self-production, especially in rural households. Urban retail preference is for fresh, branded, attractively packaged products and many supermarkets have recently given up selling bulk frozen chicken parts. Close to 50 percent of locally produced poultry meat is sold chilled, rather than frozen.

Broiler meat imports totaled 119,567 MT in 2004, and totaled 69,494 MT in the first six months of 2005. The U.S. supplied more than half of the total broiler meat imports in 2004 and Brazil supplied 26 percent. Only 6 poultry slaughter houses and 4 processing units fully comply with EU requirements and are eligible to ship to Member States. Romania is scheduled to receive EU membership in January 2007.
Source: USDA/FAS

To view the full report, including tables please click here

Source: USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service - 18th October 2005

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