2nd CEPI conference in Vienna
Invited speakers from Austria, Hungary, France and Germany shared information with the audience consisting of researchers, university lecturers and professionals from various fields of poultry production and procession.
Attila Csorbai, chairman of the Hungarian Poultry Board described the situation of the Hungarian poultry sector and the consequences of the avian flu epidemic in 2016-17. The Hungarian poultry industry suffered significant losses in terms of breeding stocks, end products and markets. Stocks concerned and endangered were killed off and state compensation was offered to the farmers. The lessons learnt lead to stricter disease control measures.
Nicolas Eterradossi, Director of the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety (ANSES) laboratory in Ploufragan-Plouzané, described the epidemiological patterns of the disease in France in 2015-16 and 2016-17. The first outbreak was preceded by asymptomatic carrying of the infection by ducks for several years. The epidemic waves started in backyard poultry, but fast transmission into commercial stocks caused rapid spread of the disease with numerous waterfowl and Galliformes included. As a result, French authorities tightened disease control measures and increased the effectiveness of monitoring especially in ducks kept for foie gras production which is characterized by free range systems and movement of birds.
Zsolt Terjék, director of Animal Health Diagnostics Directorate of the Hungarian National Food Chain Safety Office, called attention to the costs related to killing stocks, destroying feedstuffs, disinfection and staff. He mentioned that the authorities took substantial steps to prevent new cases, and that the French experiences as well as EFSA recommendations were taken into consideration.
Monika Pandur and Szilvia Hajnal, representatives of Orvia and Napsugár-Trade Ltds (Hungary), spoke about water fowl production and the activities of the biosecurity roundtable initiated by them in Hungary. The main objective of this roundtable is to enable producers to implement effective disease control measures. Experts of disease control and its management were invited to educate producers on the epidemiology of the disease, proper use of disinfectants, personal and vehicle hygiene as well as rat extermination.
Eveline Wodak, Head of the National reference lab for Avian Influenza from the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety, described Austrian outbreaks of avian flu. Highly pathogenic avian influenza of the subtype H5N1 was found in wild birds in 2006. In 2013, illegally imported wild birds were shown to carry H5N1, and in 2016/2017 H5N8 was detected in wild birds, a small scale turkey farm at the lake Bodensee and a backyard flock in Burgenland. From January to March 2017, Austria ordered all poultry flocks to be kept indoors.
Christoph Ahrens, representative of AniCon Vorsorge GmbH (Germany), informed on proper depopulation techniques considered to be a part of disease control measures. Culling must be implemented by properly trained staff in protective clothes and must avoid animal suffering. Environment contamination and air pollution must be avoided during depopulation. The company has various systems in place addressing the needs of different birds and flock sizes.
Anja Joachim, Head of the Institute of Parasitology, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, emphasized the importance of disinfection in the prevention of parasitic infections. She also underlined that feedstuffs must be kept clear of animal faeces and that use of 130 °C hot water is the most efficient method for cleaning animal houses.
Ivana Bilic, researcher at the Clinic for Poultry and Fish Medicine, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, held a presentation on the molecular genetics of Histomonas meleagridis (infectious agent of blackhead disease of turkeys). According to present knowledge, two genotypes exist. Applying transciptomics and proteomics analyses differences are noticed between attenuated and virulent parasites.
Dieter Liebhart, Associate Professor at the Clinic for Poultry and Fish Medicine, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, spoke about the diagnostics and monitoring of Histomonas meleagridis. In the EU Nitrofurane derivatives used for prevention, applied in medical care were banned in 2002 following the ban of nitroimidazole in 1995. Consequently, the number of cases increased rapidly afterwards, especially in the last 2 years in Austria with various turkey flocks being affected. Presence of the infection in laying hens was examined with serological methods: in case of deep litter housing occurrence proved to be around 29.7 %, in case of free range stocks this number was 40.9 %, and in case of organic free range conditions the antibody rate was 57.2 %.
Harald Schliessnig, Head of the Austrian Poultry Health Service (QGV), described turkey production in Austria. GMO free feedstuffs have been implemented since 2012. Maximum stocking density is 40 turkeys/m2 in conventional production. A total of 76 thousand turkeys are bred in 33 organic farms. QGV has implemented several animal health programs for poultry and recently has set up a special one to address the challenges due to histomonosis.