Outdoor ranging of poultry: a major risk factor for the introduction and development of high pathogenicity Avian Influenza

G. Koch, A.R.W. Elbers

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    39 Citations (Scopus)


    High-Pathogenicity Avian Influenza (HPAI) is an extremely infectious viral disease of poultry. Public health concerns were raised when six persons died in Hong Kong in 1997 after exposure to HPAI-infected poultry. Its danger became imminent in the recent HPAI epidemic in South-East Asia when the virus expanded its geographical range via parts of central Asia to Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Wild birds are frequently carriers of influenza A viruses. Nearly all Avian Influenza (AI) viruses isolated from wild birds are low-pathogenic and cause no clinical problems in these birds. Only after low-pathogenicity viruses are introduced in poultry, in particular in chickens and turkeys, high-pathogenicity mutants emerge after a variable length of time. Biosecurity is the first line of defence against an introduction of AI into commercial poultry flocks. Any conceivable contact between possibly contaminated animals, areas around poultry houses contaminated with faecal material from wild birds and contaminated abiotic vectors on the one hand and domestic poultry on the other must be avoided. In this paper we shall discuss the worldwide occurrence of HPAI outbreaks, the existence of AI virus infections in wild birds, and possible strategies to reduce the risk of the introduction of AI viruses into domestic poultry flocks, with special reference to free ranging
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)179-194
    JournalNJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


    • poultry farming
    • free range husbandry
    • infectious diseases
    • avian influenza A viruses
    • wild birds
    • public health
    • migration
    • epidemiology
    • epidemics
    • phylogeny
    • biosafety
    • a viruses
    • british-columbia
    • sentinel ducks
    • wild ducks
    • hemagglutinin
    • waterfowl
    • outbreak
    • h7n7
    • surveillance
    • minnesota

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