When it comes to disease outbreaks, no two situations or set of circumstances are completely identical. Things like topography, distances between farms, density of poultry in the region, biosecurity practices, viral mutation, weather and time of year can all play a role in the spread of a disease from farm to farm. In spite of all the different circumstances between regions, lessons learned in one disease outbreak can sometimes play a key role in minimizing the damage the next time a highly contagious disease pops up. Let’s face it; sometimes there is no substitute for experience.

Second H7N3 outbreak in Mexico

It appears that Mexican poultry producers may benefit from the lessons learned in the avian influenza outbreak in the state of Jalisco in 2012. In the current H7N3 outbreak in the state of Aguascalientes, two layer farms were initially infected, and they reported their suspicious bird losses right away. This allowed for the presence of avian influenza to be confirmed quickly and for the authorities to respond, perhaps before the virus spread to other farms.

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The matter of compensation for poultry producers who have had their birds culled has not been resolved, for either of these two outbreaks, but this didn’t slow the response of the industry in the Aguascalientes outbreak. As was pointed out by Cesar de Anda in his review of the Jalisco outbreak, delay in response and notification of authorities may have caused more farms to be affected by the outbreak then would have been the case if action had been taken sooner.

A vaccine was developed against the Jalisco H7N3 strain, and this vaccine, along with culling, has been credited with ending the outbreak in Jalisco. Hopefully the Jalisco vaccine will be effective against the virus in Aguascalientes. If the vaccine is effective, then “experience” will have paid off yet again.