Avian influenza (AI) virus may survive in chicken feed. Treatment of feed is therefore of utmost importance. This was stated by independent poultry veterinarian Dr Haroldo Toro at the IPPE, currently being held in Atlanta, USA.
Dr Toro, Professor with Auburn University's Department of Pathobiology, Alabama, USA, revealed results from the first phase of a research project exploring effects of feed treatment including a pathogen control agent* on AI. This control agent is a blend of formaldehyde, propionic acid, terpenes and surfactant. "We tested the viability of one strain of AI in feed after treatment with this agent. Under experimental conditions the product offered an extremely high level of AI virus inactivation (99.9%) within 1 hour," he explained.
Anitox Technical Director Dr Gino Lorenzoni agreed: "We're looking for multiple vectors. Migratory birds are widely accepted to be responsible for inter-continental and inter-state spread. The answer as to how individual farm biosecurity is being breached, though, is more complex. There are multiple mechanical vectors under the spotlight, with feed appearing on that list for two reasons. Firstly, migratory birds settle and shed on feed raw materials such as corn. Any protection normally offered by heat in the pelleting process is absent, as layers and turkeys are predominantly fed mash."
Dr Lorenzoni believes the pattern of clustered local incidence following an initial outbreak could be linked to the virus's ability to survive in water sources, and the frequent transfer of passerines and vermin between water and stores of finished feed. "We know small birds and rodents are efficient mechanical vectors, and that they are attracted to water and feed, effectively building a bridge between migratory birds and farmed poultry. Our pathogen control agent has the potential to break that transmission route. While we're in the early stages of confirming its residual impact on AI, our experience with Salmonella suggests we can protect the feed against recontamination for up to 21 days post pelleting."
* Termin-8, produced by Anitox
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