Questions concerning the spread of avian influenza, the potential for a vaccine’s approval in the United States and the impact the virus has had on the current turkey supply were addressed during WATTAgNet’s avian influenza Twitter chat, held on July 1 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. CST.

The chat was moderated by Egg Industry Editor Terrence O’Keefe and included avian influenza related questions and comments from Twitter users.

Here are some of the questions and answers included in the chat:

Q: How close are we to an avian influenza vaccine?

A: Avian influenza vaccines exist for the current virus, but have not been approved for use in the U.S., yet.

Q: How does avian influenza spread from farm to farm?

A: The USDA preliminary EPI report shows avian influenza is spread by people, equipment, pests and possibly wind.

Q: How are dead birds disposed of?

A: Ideally, avian influenza mortalities are composted onsite, but some are sent to landfills.

Q: How many birds have died from avian influenza?

A: Around 50 million birds in the U.S., but the virus has killed 10 million in Asia, Europe and Africa

Q: Is it true that migratory birds may go south to one continent one year and to another continent the following year?

A: Not sure if the same bird switches continents, but they intermix and pass the virus.

Q: Will there be a turkey shortage this Thanksgiving?

A: No. Avian influenza has killed over 7 million turkeys, but this is just 3 percent of the U.S. total.

Q: Why have so few broilers been affected?

A: Not many broiler breeders are in the affected region and only one integrator

The avian influenza Twitter chat was the first session in the WATT Global Media Animal Agriculture Twitter Chat Series. The series will cover trends and topics affecting the U.S. and global poultry, pig and animal feed industries with the hashtag #WATTchat. Watch for upcoming Twitter chats and send us topics you would like to see our editors cover.