Producing a smaller yield of higher-value birds compared to conventional poultry production, the U.S. commercial upland game bird industry deals primarily in the sale of live birds for recreational hunting. In this study, our aims were to gain insights into the occurrence of avian influenza (AI) in the U.S. commercial upland game bird industry in comparison to other poultry sectors, to identify the presence of the specific AI risk factors in the practices of raising ducks on site and having connections to live bird markets (LBMs), and to assess how AI surveillance systems may have played a role in the reporting of the presence of exposure pathway-related information. We found that 23 AI epizootics involving upland game bird premises were reported, compared to 485 epizootics in the other poultry industries, and 86% of epizootics involving upland game birds were limited to only one premises. Regarding specific AI risk factors, 70% of upland game bird epizootics involved one of the two examined practices. In assessing the impact of surveillance systems, data framed around the implementation of surveillance systems revealed that the introduction of active surveillance coincided with the more thorough reporting of both the raising of ducks on site and premises having connections to LBMs. Our results suggest the need for more thorough data collection during epizootics and the need to assess additional exposure pathways specific to the commercial raise-for-release upland game bird industry.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We extend our thanks to the Secure Upland Gamebird Supply Plan Working Group and the University of Minnesota Secure Food Systems Team for their expert elicitation. We also thank Dr. Andrew Rhorer, Dr. Denise Brinson, and Dr. Fidelis Hegngi for their contributions pertaining to active surveillance programs and additional information regarding specific epizootics. In addition, we thank Clara Brandt for her contributions to beginning stages of data collection. Amos Ssematimba is grateful to Gulu University for granting him the opportunity to work with the University of Minnesota Secure Food Systems Team. This study was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (USDA APHIS) Veterinary Services (grant 16-9794-2536ca) and was supported by the University of Minnesota, Center for Animal Health and Food Safety through a USDA-APHIS Center for Epidemiology and Animal Health Cooperative Agreement to Support National Preparedness Planning for Animal Health Emergencies (cooperative agreement 12–9208–0218ca). Dr. Cardona’s contributions are in part supported by funding from the B. S. Pomeroy Chair of Avian Health at the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine.
- United States
- avian influenza
- exposure pathways
- upland game birds