The number of turkey flocks in the US affected by highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in 2022 will be approximately four times greater than the number of laying hens and broilers combined.
So why do more flocks of American turkeys experience H5N1 infections than flocks of chickens?
dr. David E. Swayne, lab director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s in-house high biocontainment lab for poultry health research, made a possible statement on the matter during the webinar, Facts About Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Spread and Control, hosted by WATTPoultry .com and sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim on May 26.
Studies have been conducted in multiple labs, including the lab that Swayne leads, and experimental data from those studies indicate that turkeys are more susceptible to low-pathogenic avian influenza viruses and cause infections that can be spread from turkey to turkey, Swayne said.
But more specifically, when studying the goose/Guandgdong lineage virus currently seen, scientists have observed that the virus is more transmissible from turkey to turkey than to chicken to chicken, Swayne said. He also pointed out that, in general, a lower vaccination dose is required to infect turkeys than chickens, which he believes could be why more turkey producer premises are infected than chicken premises.
On the day of the webinar, HPAI had been confirmed in 120 commercial turkey flocks, 10 turkey breeding flocks and 1 chick flocks, while the virus has been confirmed in only 11 broiler flocks and 20 laying hens, with nearly proportional numbers of breeding stock and flocks of young. hens affected.
In Canada, HPAI has been confirmed in commercial flocks of turkeys, layers and broilers. However, no information has yet been released on the type of poultry affected in particular flocks affected, making it difficult to determine whether more turkey flocks are affected than chicken flocks.
An archived version of the webinar can be accessed at WATTPoultry.com. Register to attend the webinar.
For more information on HPAI cases in commercial poultry flocks in North America, see an interactive map at WATTPoultry.com.
Read our ongoing coverage of the global bird flu outbreak.