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Large scale response leads to further spreading


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Large scale response leads to further spreading

  1. 1. Transmission  risks  within  the  poultry  industry   By:  Harm  Kiezebrink,  Principal  consultant  Applied  Veterinary  Technologies  AB   Large-scale response leads to further spreading During  depopulation  viruses  are  easily  transmitted  to  responders  who  are  tasked  for   taking  layers  out  of  their  cages,  transport  them  through  the  narrow  walkways  between   the  cages  to  a  disposal  container  placed  outside  of  the  house.  Although  humans  are   supposed  to  be  less  susceptible,  they  can  become  carrier  of  the  virus.  Only  the  highest   level  of  biosecurity  could  prevent  the  transmission  through  the  humans  and  materials   that  have  been  in  direct  contact  with  infected  animals  and  materials.   New statistics on the 2003 outbreak in Holland Before  introduction  of  the  ban  on  conventional  battery  cages  in  the  EU  from  January   2012,  battery  cages  were  still  common  in  the  Netherlands.  An  evaluation  of  the   statistics  of  the  Dutch  outbreak  (in  total  1.134  culling  operations    -­‐  more  than  29  million   birds)  shows  that  79.2%  of  all  the  infected/suspected  farms  H7N7  was  reintroduced   were  labor-­‐intensive  layers/parent  stock  farms;  8,7  %  were  turkey  farms.     Compared  to  the  production  of  broilers,  the  layer  industry  is  much  more  labor  intensive.   Specialized  agricultural  service  providers  are  contracted  to  supply  the  workforce  for   tasks  like  egg  collection,  depopulation,  cleaning  &  disinfection,  vaccination  etc.  The   same  service  providers  are  contracted  to  supply  the  workforce  to  depopulate  the  farms   during  outbreak  situations.       Because  this  labor  force  contains  of  staff  that  is  partly  contracted  on  short-­‐term  basis   (for  instance  seasonal  workers),  it  is  almost  impossible  keep  track  of  where  the  staff  is   coming  from  or  where  it  will  be  working  in  the  future.  Even  when  all  farm  workers  are   officially  registered,  it  is  very  difficult  to  guarantee  that  the  workforce  in  teams  that  only   carry  out  normal  farm  work  and  teams  that  strictly  work  as  responders  on  infected   farms.  This  makes  the  layer-­‐  and  turkey  industry  vulnerable  for  labor  related  risks  of   79.2%   12.0%   8.7%   Type  of  farms  infected  during  the  H7N7  outbreak  in  Holland   Labor-­‐intensive  farms  (Layers/parent   stock)   Labor-­‐extensive  farms  (broiler/ breeders)   Turkey  farms  
  2. 2. Transmission  risks  within  the  poultry  industry   By:  Harm  Kiezebrink,  Principal  consultant  Applied  Veterinary  Technologies  AB   transmission.  It  was  possibly  one  of  the  main  reasons  why  the  outbreak  in  Holland  in   2003  was  so  difficult  to  control.       Specific risks related to layer- and turkey farms Managing  simple  response  tasks  might  look  simple,  but  these  get  extremely   complicated:  most  responders  are  untrained  and  insufficiently  prepared  to  carry  out   heavy  labor  in  narrow  houses,  under  stressful  circumstances,  and  wearing   uncomfortable  protective  clothing.  Breaches  of  biosecurity  during  outbreaks  are   belonging  therefore  to  the  most  likely  routes  of  transmission.   What  happened  to  the  industry  The  veterinary  authorities  in  Iowa  and  Minnesota  face   huge  managerial  and  logistical  challenges  when  faced  with  depopulation  and  biosecurity   protection  on  the  highest  level  at  the  same  time.    The  labor  intensity  of  response   activities  –  and  the  number  of  people  needed  to  depopulate  layer  farms  with  an  average   size  per  farm  of  almost  1  million  layers  (compared  to  an  average  21,500  layers  on  Dutch   layer  farms)  and  -­‐in  average-­‐  51,800  turkeys  per  farm  (compared  to  13,250  turkeys  on   Dutch  turkey  farms).  The  enormous  size  of  farms  will  make  it  almost  impossible  to   prevent  transmission  outside  the  infected  areas.   The  size  of  the  U.S.  farms  is  one  of  the  most  complicating  factors  to  bring  the  outbreak   under  control.       Similar  to  the  situation  of  the  Dutch  outbreak  specialized  poultry  workers  are  used   simultaneously  as  responders  during  outbreak  situations.  And  because  of  that,  farm   activities  on  non-­‐infected  farms  and  response  activities  on  suspected/infected  farms   need  to  be  strictly  separated.  This  in  itself  causes  massive  pressure  on  the  veterinary   authorities  to  deploy  sufficient  responders.  For  that  reason,  responders  are  brought  in   from  different  parts  of  the  country,  opening  up  the  transmission  routes  to  uninfected   areas  and  causing  introduction  of  viruses  into  uninfected  areas.     Acute responder shortages and criminal opportunities A  study  published  in  The  Lancet  (2004)i  noted  an  unexpectedly  high  number  of   transmissions  of  avian  influenza  A  virus  subtype  H7N7  in  people  directly  involved  in   handling  infected  poultry  during  the  2003  outbreak  in  the  Netherlands.  This  provides   23%   68%   9%   Infected  farm  type   Chickens   Turkeys   Mixed   poultry   85%   15%   Infected  poultry  species   Chickens   Turkeys  
  3. 3. Transmission  risks  within  the  poultry  industry   By:  Harm  Kiezebrink,  Principal  consultant  Applied  Veterinary  Technologies  AB   evidence  for  person-­‐to-­‐person  transmission  pathways.     Although  in  2003  the  Dutch  veterinary  authority  RVV  did  not  expect  that  the  risk  of   infection  of  responders  turned  out  to  be  50%,  it  created  a  directive  to  minimize  the  risks   that  the  virus  would  transmit  through  farm  workers  and  responders.  The  RVV  ruled  that   it  was  strictly  forbidden  for  farm  workers  and  responders  who  had  been  active  on   infected  farms  to  visit  and/or  work  on  non-­‐infected  farms  within  a  time  frame  of  72   hours.  Contractors  were  obliged  to  keep  a  strict  record  of  where  their  staff  has  been   working.     This  measure  complicated  the  task  of  finding  enough  staff  to  carry  out  response   activities.  RVV  took  a  bold  step  and  decided  to  deploy  asylum  seekers  through  a   specialized  agricultural  service  in  the  south  of  the  Netherlands  provider  because  of  the   urgency  and  the  acute  shortage  of  staff.  All  these  hundreds  of    asylum  seekers  were   subject  to  a  fake  registration  under  the  same  name  (F.  Vogelpest,  birdflu  in  Dutch),  born   on  April  14,    2003,  unmarried,  and  all  with  the  same  social  security  number  2494  88  039.     This  unfortunate  step  of  RVV  made  it  almost  impossible  to  reconstruct  the  transmission   route  through  this  group  of  responders.     These  emergency  responders    were  normaly  deployed  as   seasonal  laborers  to  harvest  asparagus.  With  the  support  of   a  local  tax  officer,  these  untrained  laborers  were  deployed  in   the  area  of  the  first  outbreak  in  the  center  of  the   Netherlands  to  collect  dead  chickens  after  stable  gassing.   One  month  later,  a  second  wave  of  outbreaks  took  place  in   the  direct  proximity  of  this  service  provider  in  the  south,  in   an  area  with  mainly  layer  farms  that  used  the  services  of  this   service  provider.     It  is  difficult  to  determine  where  his  fraudulent  activities   started  and  stopped,  so  it  is  also  difficult  to  find  out  what  the  role  his  staff  –  including   the  staff  he  normally  deployed  in  the  poultry  industry  in  the  southern  part  of  the   Netherlands  –  actually  was  in  terms  of  transmission  from  the  area  around  Barneveld  to   the  farms  in  the  southern  part  of  the  Netherlands  and  Belgium  (April  16,  2003   Meeuwen-­‐Gruitrode).   The  owner  of  the  service  provider  was  arrested  in  2003,  and  in  June  2007,  he  was   convicted  for  tempering  with  the  registration  of  responders  that  were  deployed  during   the  outbreak.  This  story  has  been  well  documented  in  the  Dutch  pressii ,  but  never  been   published  internationally.   Carcass disposal A  similar  situation  is  occurring  within  the  U.S.  poultry  industry  at  this  moment,  but  even   on  a  larger  scale,  due  to  the  farming  infrastructure  and  the  staggering  numbers  of  birds   that  are  culled  -­‐  more  than  46  million/170  million  tons  of  carcasses  -­‐  and  need  to  be  
  4. 4. Transmission  risks  within  the  poultry  industry   By:  Harm  Kiezebrink,  Principal  consultant  Applied  Veterinary  Technologies  AB   disposed  of.  In  an  article  published  in  Des  moines  Gazetteiii  Tom  Vilsack,  the  U.S.   secretary  of  agriculture  recently  stated  that  the  federal  government  is  addressing  the   outbreak  by  attempting  to  be  thorough,  safe  and  expedient,  but  that  process  was   slowed  by  a  lack  of  locations  to  dispose  of  the  destroyed  birds.     The  outbreak  in  the  U.S.  is  unprecedented  in  the  history  of  poultry  farming.  All  infected   birds  need  to  be  handled  at  the  farm,  transported  to  the  disposal  location  and  than   buried  or  incinerated.  Vilsack  pointed  out  that  the  disposal  process  has  been  holding  up   the  process  of  stamping  out.  He  said  the  government  has  reached  agreements  with  a   handful  of  landfills  and  incinerators,  so  he  hopes  disposal  will  begin  to  move  more   briskly.  He  said  finding  willing  partners  that  are  willing  to  dispose  the  carcasses  was  not   easy.  Some  facilities  expressed  willingness  to  take  destroyed  birds,  but  backed  off  after   hearing  concerns  from  neighbors.                                                                                                                   i  Transmission  of  H7H7  avian  influenza  A  virus  to  human  beings  during  a  large  outbreak  in   commercial  poultry  farms  in  the  Netherlands,  published  in  the  Lancet  Volume  363,  February  21,   2004   ii   iii­‐help-­‐for-­‐bird-­‐flu-­‐on-­‐the-­‐way-­‐20150526