A poultry disease simulation will test biosecurity and mitigation measures on farms in Ontario, Canada, helping to protect the industry against avian influenza and other possible outbreaks.

“Our goal is to develop a better understanding of how poultry disease outbreak investigations and industry communications can be improved to reduce the transmission of poultry diseases,” explains Rob Hannam, CEO of Farm Health Guardian, an animal health and biosecurity management software system.

During the simulation, farmers will record and analyze the movements of vehicles on and off their farms. This data will be collected into a confidential database, with the ultimate purpose of sending disease alerts when outbreaks occur at a nearby poultry farm.

Highly pathogenic avian flu was recently detected in commercial turkeys in Nova Scotia, as well as at an exhibition farm and a backyard flock in Newfoundland and Labrador. Limiting the flow of traffic is a key biosecurity measure for preventing the spread of avian flu and other infectious disease between poultry farms and houses.

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“We expect to learn a lot by documenting the actual frequency and nature of movement on and off of poultry farms,” said Ingrid DeVisser, chairperson of the Feather Board Command Centre (FBCC).

“Niagara poultry farmers, and the entire provincial poultry industry, will benefit from the evaluation of the data and results of this pilot. Rapid notifications and targeted alerts can reduce the likelihood and impact of a highly infectious disease outbreak. Participating farmers will gain a better understanding of the biosecurity practices needed to protect their farms and those of their neighbors.”

Run by Farm Health Guardian and the FBCC, the pilot will run in the Niagara region of Ontario, Canada from January to March 2022. Members of the FBCC include the s Chicken Farmers of Ontario, Egg Farmers of Ontario, Ontario Broiler Hatching Egg and Chick Commission, Turkey Farmers of Ontario, as well as the Ontario Hatcheries Association, Poultry Services Association, Association of Ontario Chicken Processors and feed companies represented through the Ontario Agri Business Association as associate members.

View our continuing coverage of the global avian influenza situation.