Gateway to poultry production and products

Animal health

Diseases affecting poultry can have a devastating impact on productivity and production, on trade of live birds, meat and other poultry products. Some poultry pathogens are zoonotic and can impact human health. Capacity to diagnose the causes of disease losses in poultry and to recognize an emerging disease rapidly is essential. Avian pathogens do not recognize national boundaries, only production sites and their disease control circumstances. Commercial poultry sites must therefore have forward defences to exclude pathogens – through biosecurity programmes.

Weaknesses in the biosecurity of production sites and in disease diagnosis predispose emerging pathogens to become endemic disease threats, as has occurred in the past decade with Avian Influenza in some of the countries affected. Establishing a national poultry health facility is a key step towards developing field and veterinary laboratory capability for disease diagnosis. A unit with designated functions in diagnostic services, disease intelligence and field extension outreach can drive the delivery of integrated avian health-in-production services to all sectors of poultry production. A poultry health network involving both the public and the private sectors in close collaboration will likely ensure viable interface with small-scale poultry producers.

Did you know?

  • Economically important diseases with high mortality rates for chickens are Newcastle disease worldwide and fowl cholera in Southeast Asia.
  • The major diseases affecting ducks are duck plague and duck cholera.
  • Avian Influenza has cost billions of dollars, the death of hundreds of millions of poultry and the lives of hundreds of people.
  • Producers with small family poultry flocks in developing countries rarely take biosecurity measures or vaccinate their birds because they are used to losing part of their flocks to disease or other hazards.