A survey conducted by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) showed that most U.S. turkey farms have established biosecurity protocols, but only 43 percent of the 81 farms surveyed reported that on-farm biosecurity audits were conducted by the company with which they do business or by a third party.

The study was included in an updated highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) epidemiology report, released by the APHIS on July 24.   

The agency further stressed in its report the importance of audits, as farms can decrease their risk of contracting avian influenza by verifying that biosecurity procedures are being followed properly.

The 81 turkey farms investigated for avian influenza were located in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Wisconsin. Turkeys on these farms had all developed clinical signs of avian influenza between March 30 and May 2. Of those 81 farms, 63 were meat production farms (grow and/or brood), 11 were breeder farms, 6 were farms that raised breeder candidate birds to breeding age, and 1 farm did not provide information on production type. The median farm capacity was 46,000 birds and the median number of barns per farm was four.

Common biosecurity protocols practiced by the farms surveyed include spraying disinfectant on vehicle tires at the farm entrance, requiring visitors to wear coveralls and disposable boot covers before entering the barns, using disinfectant footbaths at barn entrances, using rodent control and caring for younger birds before caring for older birds.

It was also noted in the report that wild birds had entered barns on about 35 percent of the surveyed farms, with the frequency ranging from daily to occasionally.