Summer 2015 EDEN Newsletter

In This Issue

From the Chair

Dr. Mike Yoder formal photographAs we reach the mid-point of summer, it is time to register for the 2015 EDEN Annual Meeting, to be held October 6-9, in Las Cruces, New Mexico.  This year’s meeting logo is “Enroute to the Next 20 Years,” a recognition of our efforts during the first 20 years and look at our vision for the next 20.

An exciting pre-conference tour is being planned by the Southwest Border Food Protection and Emergency Management Center.  This tour promises an up-close and personal view of the issues facing border states.  Participation in this tour is limited, so register soon.

The planning committee has put together a great program with workshops, workgroup meetings, a report from NIFA and an update about the new EDEN Strategic Plan, a look at the opportunities EDEN has for collaboration with our 1984 Land Grant institutions, and more.

Following the Friday workshop, “Making EDEN Work for You,” those who are interested are invited to travel to Albuquerque, NM for the 2015 Balloon Fiesta.  This tour promises to provide a memorable ending to the week.

The EDEN Exercise Ad-Hock Committee has been busy this past year and while I don’t want to steal the thunder from their presentation at the annual meeting, their recent survey, measuring the effectiveness and efficiency of EDEN’s ability to disseminate information, provided impressive results.  To hear specifics, you will need to listen to Michael Gaffney’s (committee Co-Chair) presentation Wednesday afternoon at 2:30 p.m.

Since January, the EDEN Executive Committee has been planning for a September meeting with selected Extension Directors,   and Beverly Samuel, NIFA National Program Leader, Jane Schuchardt, Executive Director, ECOP/APLU, and Nick Place, EDEN’s representative to ECOP.  The purpose of the meeting is to allow the Extension Directors to provide input regarding the future direction of EDEN.  Input from this meeting will be included in the future strategic planning process.  We have never had this opportunity to bring the directors to the table for these discussions and look forward to a productive and informative meeting.

I hope to see everyone in Las Cruces in October.  Take a minute right now to register and reserve your hotel rooms! –Mike Yoder, EDEN Chair

HPAI Update

On July 7, 2015, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, and Nutrition held a public hearing on the impacts of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) on the U.S. poultry sector. The key witness, Dr. John Clifford, Deputy Administrator of Veterinary Services at the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS), started his testimony with a chilling statement: “Today, we are facing the largest animal health emergency in this country’s history. We are dealing with an unprecedented outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) that is taking a heavy toll on the poultry industry.” Indeed, USDA has Commercial Broiler House with Birdsconfirmed HPAI in 21 states, which includes nine states where HPAI was identified in commercial poultry. Of the 232 total poultry premises with confirmed cases of HPAI, 211 are commercial facilities where 7.5 million turkeys and 42 million chickens and pullets have been depopulated. USDA has committed over $500 million – an amount more than half of APHIS’ yearly discretionary budget – in addressing this outbreak.

How did this devastating outbreak occur in the first place? According to USDA scientists, the HPAI H5N8 virus originated in Asia and spread rapidly along wild bird migratory pathways in 2014. Dr. Clifford reported that wild ducks and geese brought the disease first to the Pacific flyway, and later to the Central and Mississippi flyways. Initial detections in the United States were in wild birds and backyard flocks, and may have resulted from direct contact with sick migratory birds. USDA epidemiologists believe that wild birds were responsible for introducing HPAI into the environment, and from there it was spread into commercial poultry houses. Further investigation by USDA scientists showed that the virus was introduced into commercial poultry facilities from the environment or from farm-to-farm transmission on human sources such as boots or equipment. Dr. Clifford pointed out that APHIS cannot associate transmission of the disease with any single one of those factors, but it seems clear that lateral spread occurred when biosecurity measures that are sufficient in ordinary times were not sufficient in the face of such a large amount of virus in the environment.  While the results of USDA’s preliminary epidemiological investigation did not show a single source of transmission, it did emphasize the importance and need for improved biosecurity. Dr. Clifford also stressed that USDA is treating the potential threat of more infections in the fall with the utmost seriousness as it is very likely that wild birds will carry the virus with them when they begin migrating south in the fall.  When asked about the use of vaccines to prevent and control HPAI, Dr. Clifford said this is being studied but cannot be adopted until a suitable vaccine is found and trade implications are clarified with countries that import U.S. poultry products.

Poultry industry representatives also testified at the hearing and thanked USDA for its support while stating that indemnification guidelines and depopulation and disposal measures need to be improved. No new outbreaks have been reported since the last confirmed detection of HPAI in a layer flock in Iowa on June 17, 2015 and many affected farms are beginning to repopulate their flocks.

Article by Nathaniel Tablante – EDEN Delegate and University of Maryland Point of Contact

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Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza reported in Mexico – Not H5N1

An outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza has been confirmed in Mexico.  This outbreak is not H5N1 but H7N3 and taken from OIE (world Organisation for Animal Health):

The last outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza serotype H7N3 occurred in September 2012 in the northeastern part of the State of Jalisco. Following control and eradication measures, passive and active surveillance was strengthened and on 3 January 2013 SENASICA was informed of an increase in mortality and a decrease of egg production on a commercial layer farm in the State of Aguascalientes. Timely notification from the farmer and surveillance activities allowed immediate depopulation of the two affected production units, reason why both outbreaks identified are closed.
The first outbreak had a population of 146,755 birds aged 21-80 weeks, of which 2,990 sick and 740 dead. Clinical signs were conjunctivitis, edema, cyanosis and palpebral, comb and chin swelling as well as opisthotonos and sudden death. Additionally, during post-mortem inspections, hemorrhages were identified in trachea, lungs and tonsils. Control measures included vaccination of laying and breeding hens within the zone around the outbreaks and the buffer zone and the strengthening of biosecurity and control of poultry goods movements.
The second outbreak was detected during active surveillance conducted in the State of Aguascalientes and the virus was isolated in another commercial layer farm with a population of 138,000 birds over 81 weeks old, which was also depopulated. In both outbreaks, cleaning and disinfection of facilities and equipment as well as destruction of hen manure have been carried out. After depopulation, sentinel birds will be introduced in order to confirm the absence of infection and viral circulation.
Active and passive surveillance continues at national level. Epidemiological investigation is on-going.”

 

Kim Cassel

Avian Influenza Biosecurity Courses

Thanks to Dr. Nathaniel Tablante and Jenny Madsen at University of Maryland, two new biosecurity courses are now available through eXtension. A third course will soon be accessible. The self-directed certification online courses are free, but require enrollment.

Participants will gain vital information on biosecurity measures that focus on prevention, response and recovery of an avian influenza outbreak.

Avian Influenza for Backyard Owners is designed for small flock, backyard, homestead and hobby poultry owners.

Avian Influenza for Emergency Responders is designed for emergency response personnel.