USDA preparing avian flu risk assessment tool

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) hopes to use data that it gained from studying commercial poultry farms hit by highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in 2022 to better equip producers from being affected in 2023 and beyond.

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Matthew Maaskant | freeimages.com
Matthew Maaskant | freeimages.com

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) hopes to use data that it gained from studying commercial poultry farms hit by highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in 2022 to better equip producers from being affected in 2023 and beyond.

Dr. Rosemary Sifford, chief veterinary officer for the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Veterinary Services (VS), explained that VS is preparing a risk assessment report that can be used as a tool to guide producers’ responses to HPAI.

“We’re in the midst of doing an analysis on all the data we’ve collected on the affected facilities, to make some statements about the level of risk and what are factors that create a higher level of risk,” Sifford said on a USDA Radio News broadcast.

While most producers are actively taking preventative actions to keep HPAI at bay, Sifford said that some producers may be taking certain actions that don’t really reduce the risk of HPAI at all.

“We want them to be able to take actions that truly do reduce their risks,” she said.

Some may be taking certain actions that don’t really reduce the risk at all. We want them to be able to take actions that truly do reduce their risks.

To date, HPAI has led to the loss of more than 51 million commercial birds in the United States in 2022, with cases being confirmed in commercial flocks in 26 states, affecting turkeys, broilers, layers, ducks and upland gamebirds. However, when backyard flocks are factored in, all but three states have had confirmed cases of HPAI.

According to Sifford, the federal agency expects to have the risk assessment completed in 2023.

To learn more about HPAI cases in commercial poultry flocks in the United States and Canada, see an interactive map on WATTPoultry.com. 

Read our ongoing coverage of the global avian influenza outbreak.

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