Beneficiary AI poultry disease discussion for State Vets
There are 16 known Influenza A virus hemagglutinin (HA) subtypes (H1-H16)
and nine neuraminidase (NA) subtypes (N1-N9).
Infection causes a wide spectrum of symptoms in birds, ranging from mild
illness to a highly contagious and rapidly fatal diseases resulting in epidemics.
The latter is known as highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). This form is
characterised by sudden onset, severe illness and rapid death with mortality
that can approach a 100%.
We the PDMA office, recently hosted a State Vets Poultry Mentorship follow
discussion on the 11th October 2013. Many by now are aware that, the
PDMA office hosts poultry diseases mentorship programmes training for state
vets who are working and involved in poultry projects in their respective
Therefore, the focus of the discussion was the AI disease affecting the
industry and state vets involved. A special thanks to our guest presenters/
speakers From GDARD (Dr. Deryn Petty), Avimune Company and Deltamune
The case studies focused AI affecting a poultry breeder farm in South
How vets see or find AI in a period where is suspected.
What are the things they need to do, once it has been detected?
What need to be done first regarding any time-frame? e.g. considering the
shedding period/expiring period.
What are other means of way to prevent diseases except for vaccination?
SAPA PMDA had realised the importance of private and state vets (agriculture
departments representatives) sharing knowledge. The office had demonstrated
this by initiate in hosting training and mentorship programmes for State Veterinans focusing on
poultry diseases affecting the industry. The (pdma) to realise the importance and
act upon it, that great jester.
We need to start developing more poultry disease experts. Private and state vets of this country. As much as the disease is a threat to the industry. There will be no point of tackling or trying to solve the disease problem without a combination of state and private vets working together.
South Africa we have different poultry veterinary sectors, namely the public
veterinary services (government) and private veterinary sector. Both of these
sectors play a significant role in the country’s biggest and important sector
in animal production, poultry.
have been concerns raised by the poultry national veterinary service, consumer
groups, poultry producer groups that a gap of communication or lack of
relationship between the public and private still exist. Due to such, many feel
that the food safety, animal health and welfare might have been compromised. As
a result the entire veterinary service may become if not already, weaker and
Since the establishment of Poultry Disease Management Agency (PDMA) by the South African Poultry Association (SAPA), PDMA has taken upon itself the initiative role of developing a partnership relationship between the Public and Private sectors to combat poultry diseases, through the following:
disease contact sessions for both state and private veterinarians
government’s disease prevention policies and protocols with the involvement of
both sectors etc.
a meeting which was recently held between PDMA, Department of Agriculture,
Forestry and Fisheries Veterinarians officials, Private Veterinarians and the
World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) at the AVI Africa 2014. It was discuss
that the lacking and poorly developed monitoring and delivery of commercialised
tasks still exist, which are namely:
of public health, food or animal inspection,
the health and certificates of imported and exported animals or products of
Animal products or animals posing a risk of spreading animal
diseases etc. which fairly
undermines the service of the public interest.
of the mentioned issues surrounding the partnership relationship. I propose
that a clear compartmentalisation plan must be drafted and put into place by
looking at the functions of both sectors and formally linking them together
Functions of Public
and legislative framework;
(border and inland);
of main contagious diseases;
of drugs, quality control, destruction;
data systems (Animal Resource Data and Information Systems)
of food safety, import and export inspection and certification according to
Functions of Private Veterinary
deliver preventive, curative and promotive services that largely benefit
individual animals and their owners, i.e. to deliver private goods and services;
of livestock products;
develop a clear concept of compartmentalisation of the two sectors for it to
work by implementing the following
The institution of a special transition team to
plan and oversee the implementation of any restructuring process has been found
This team should be guided by an advisory council
with stakeholder representatives including members appointed from the national
veterinary service, the national treasury, the pharmaceutical industry,
livestock producer groups and consumer groups and advice should be sought from
countries that have successfully gone through a similar transition process;
Determining which tasks should be commercialised;
Standardise and compartmentalisation of
bio-security as a disease preventative method;
Safe trade based on scientific risk analysis;
Deliver high quality and effective services
Maintaining public support and funding;
Providing transparent reports to international
bodies (OIE) and neighbouring countries collectively.
An overall objective of restructuring of veterinary
services should be to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of animal
health care delivery and, consequently disease free poultry productivity,
safeguard public health, and contribute to national development. The end result
should be a public veterinary service better able to carry out its redefined
responsibilities, a functioning private sector and the necessary supporting
personnel and infrastructure able to contribute to the overall objective.
There are only a
few months left to the end of 2014. It seems however like January was only the
other day and that there is still much to do before the end of the year. We
have made some great strides in the work that was planned for this year. We
most pleased with the progress made when it comes to food safety, in particular
the Microbial and Residue monitoring programme. The objectives of setting up
both National Microbial and Residue Monitoring programmes are very close to
With regards to
the microbial monitoring programme, Prof Fosgate, an Epidemiologist based at
Onderstepoort has successfully designed a sampling protocol for poultry meat
that is in the process of being tested at three abattoirs around the country.
So far, one abattoir has completed a month of testing and the other two are in
progress. Once the testing is completed, the protocol will be revised and
retested, taking into account the sizes of the various operations. The idea is
to have a minimum standard that will every producer will be required to
achieve. The larger operation will be able to build on the minimum standard based
on the complexities of their operations. The same protocol will be used to
collect samples for residue testing in poultry meat.
Eggs on the
other hand have lagged behind meat a bit. We can report however that the egg
work has started as well. Prof Fosgate is similarly looking at a sampling
protocol for table eggs. In order to ensure that the correct sampling methods
are used, the results of the monitoring programme run by DAFF will be used.
This will enable us to determine the prevalence of various compounds and
therefore be able to set standards that will monitor those compounds. Again
here the aim is to have a minimum standard for all producers that the larger
producers can build on. It is envisaged that over time, the industry will be
able to guarantee the quality of the products sold to our consumers.
News to tell
DAFF hosted a
workshop on Good Emergency Management
Practice sponsored by the USDA and FAO. The aim of the workshop was to
evaluate the state of South Africa to respond to disease outbreaks and
emergencies. Following the workshop, DAFF will be looking at establishing the
systems that will be required to ensure that there is a coordinated approach to
emergency responses. Multidisciplinary teams will be formed and trained. These
teams will include both government and private sector resources. Some of you
may be called in to assist as experts in your field of work. We encourage you
to support DAFF in this initiative because it will be beneficial to the country
as a whole.
It is also with
the greatest of pride to report back on some of the prestigious honours
bestowed on Prof Celia Abolnik our
Research Chair in Poultry Health and Production. The Chair delivered a keynote
address at the South African Society for Animal Science’s 47th congress on 8 July
2014 entitled “Avian influenza and the South African poultry industry”. The
Chair was invited to present the keynote address on Newcastle Disease at the
WVPA congress to be hosted in Cape Town in 2015. She was also invited to
deliver a keynote address at the Avian Influenza Symposium to be held in
Georgia USA in 2015. We should also not forget Dr Adrian Knoetze of Rainbow Farms who received the WVPA Young Poultry Veterinarian Award at the WVPA
Asia Meeting in Bangkok. This award is given to a poultry veterinarian under
the age of 35 who has ‘not only displayed a commitment to bird health and
customer care, but also a real passion for the poultry industry’.
Please note that an African Residue Congress
will be held on the 25th and 26th November 2014. For more
information please visit the congress site at www.afroresidue.com or contact the secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As some of you may know, South Africa will be hosting the World
Veterinary Poultry Congress in 2015 in Cape Town. For more information, please
The public sector involvement in industries has been reducing over years due to limited resources, both human and financial. This is a global phenomenon that is necessitated by limited growth of the government tax coffers. There is a constant tug of war between various government priorities that make it difficult to make enough resources available to meet all priorities. It is for this reason that the private sector is getting more involved in activities that were previously delivered by the public sector. This is the case with veterinary services, where government used to provide most of the services free of charge to public. Services such as dipping, vaccinations, deworming and primary health care were delivered to the farmers free of charge.
to the progressively reducing resources, farmers are now sourcing these
services from private veterinarians at their own cost. It is also true of
controlled diseases, where commercial farmers are responsible for testing and
control of these diseases in their livestock. Even in instances where
eradication of diseases is required, the farmer takes the responsibility
without any guarantees of realising compensation to the full value of his/her
situation is the same for the poultry industry in South Africa which currently
receives services from both private and public veterinarians. There is very
little involvement of the state veterinarians in the day to day operations of
the commercial producers. Unfortunately, there is also limited involvement of
state veterinarians in the backyard and small scale poultry operations. There
is therefore a large portion of poultry owners who do not receive any
veterinary support due to the fact that they cannot afford private
veterinarians and the state veterinarians have competing priorities.
decline in resources has been happening at the back of increasing consumer
awareness and demands. The consumer wants good quality food and affordable
prices. To produce good quality food is costly. While the producers are not able
to increase the prices in line with the increased costs because the animal
products have to compete with other basic good that also on the rise resulting
in limited affordability.
PDMA as a Public Private
the concerns that were raised, it was evident that a lack of co-regulating
relationship between the public and private sectors still exist, resulting in
the compromise of food safety, animal health and welfare. To address these
problems, the South African Poultry Association (SAPA) saw it fit to establish
a veterinary component called the Poultry Disease Management Agency (PDMA) as link
that would focus on the
protection and health of the National Flock and also strengthen the relationship between
the Public and Private veterinary services in addressing animal health issues collectively.
existence of the PDMA frees government to focus on regulatory issues, without
neglecting the producers. The government sets the rules and the business
through the PDMA implements the rules. The PDMA ensures that all poultry
producers, big and small can implement the rules set out by the government. A
study by Martinez et al, (2007), demonstrated that there are various levels of
government interventions (fig.1), from no intervention to direct command and
control intervention. It is clear that doing nothing is never an option and
that with decreasing government resources, direct command and control is also
not possible. Many countries are opting for PPP to reach a level of government
intervention that is somewhere in the middle.
The PDMA is such a PPP tool that the poultry industry has elected to
Fig. 1. Options for public intervention.
Source: Martinez et al, Food Policy 32 (2007) 299-314
PDMA has outlined the following as areas of priority:
Engage national and local
government on issues of disease control in the South African poultry
Make use of the database of
poultry farms in South Africa to assist DAFF with monitoring of notifiable
disease such as Avian Influenza, Salmonella and Newcastle Disease, while
using it to develop monitoring programmes for important disease such as
Appoint or designate veterinarians
with expertise in poultry diseases in each Province who would be available
to assist state veterinarians in the event of disease outbreaks in
commercial, smallholder and subsistence poultry in those provinces.
Investigate the role of the PDMA
in training state veterinarians and/or Animal Health Technicians so as to
improve the service delivered by the state in the event of disease
outbreaks on poultry farms.
Consider developing a residue
monitoring programme for poultry products nationally, or at least a
database of residue monitoring data which is available.
Deliver improved technical and
veterinary support to smallholder poultry farmers so that they can achieve
greater production success in collaboration with State Veterinary services
or through the PDMA’s own initiatives.
Collaborate with the ostrich
success of the PDMA and its initiatives will aid in combating poultry diseases,
improving the quality of poultry products, assisting with Sanitary and Phyto
Sanitary Standards that improve access to markets, improved communication
between public and private entities, and
making the poultry industry an inclusive industry where small scale producers
have access to opportunities.
value of the PDMA is evident in the interactions with the following government
Department of Agriculture Forestry and
Veterinary Public Health
Food Safety and Quality Assurance
Agriculture Inputs Control
Department of Science and Technology
Public and Private Laboratories
Other animal products organisations and
the threat posed by poultry infectious diseases such as Newcastle as well as
other zoonotic diseases in South Africa.
Co-regulation of veterinary services will increase the efficiency and
effectiveness of animal health care delivery and, consequently disease free
poultry productivity. It will also aid in safeguarding public health, and
contribute to national poultry development. The end result should be a public
veterinary service that is better positioned to carry out its regulatory responsibilities,
a functioning private sector and the necessary supporting personnel and
infrastructure able to contribute to the combined objectives.
In South Africa there are two poultry veterinary sectors, namely the public veterinary services (government) and private veterinary sector. Both of these sectors play a significant role in the country’s biggest and important sector in animal production, poultry.
the past recent years there have been concerns raised by the national poultry
veterinary service, consumer groups and poultry producer groups that:
demand for quality meat from consumer has been an on-going challenge;
and combating diseases nationally has been impossible to do it;
public veterinary services have shown their limitations in providing the comprehensive
animal health services needed for poultry development and is unable to reach
has been limitation of area access for private veterinary services to assist in
private sector has been providing new technological services to commercial
has been price hiking and fraud;
has been absence of clear safe trade based on scientific risk analysis;
of enormous poultry import which is a threat to veterinary public health.
the concerns that were raised, it was evident that a lack of co-regulating relationship
between the public and private sectors still exist, resulting in the compromise
of food safety, animal health and welfare.
these problems, the South African Poultry Association (SAPA) saw it fit to establish
a veterinary component called the Poultry Disease Management Agency (PDMA) as link
that would focus on the
protection and health of the National Flock and also strengthen the relationship between
the Public and Private veterinary services in addressing animal health issues collectively,
The following are the four main areas or focus for the PDMA:
Safety through protection of public health, food and animal inspection;
or animal products posing risk of spreading diseases;
control through training of state veterinarians;
reporting and surveillance.
successful establishment of PDMA and its initiative role of developing a
partnership between the Public and Private sectors have managed to combat poultry
diseases. A clear compartmentalisation has been developed to:
efficiency by exposing business and services to greater possible competition,
to the benefit of the consumer;
the overload of work from public sector;
the best value for each industry or service the government sells;
surveillance the main contagious diseases and report it;
and policy framework for supporting Public Private Partnership (PPP);
transparent reports to international bodies (OIE) and neighbouring countries
disease contact sessions for both state and private veterinarians;
public veterinary policy and protocols planning and implementation;
high quality and effective services collectively;
public support and funding;
standardise and compartmentalisation of bio-security as a disease preventative
the threat posed by poultry infectious diseases such as Newcastle as well as
other zoonotic diseases in South Africa.
The aim of co-regulating veterinary services would increase the efficiency and
effectiveness of animal health care delivery and, consequently disease free
poultry productivity, safeguard public health, and contribute to national
development. The end result should be a public veterinary service better able
to carry out its redefined responsibilities, a functioning private sector and the
necessary supporting personnel and infrastructure able to contribute to the
Focus on biosecurity in backyard and small-scale chickens
South Africa’s poultry represents an important sector in animal production, with backyard flocks representing the majority among villagers and small-scale farmers. These communities raise poultry to meet household food demands and an additional source of income.
For many of
these biosecurity is a “BIG” word that makes one think of government intrusion,
regulations and policies. However, biosecurity is a basic and fundamental requirement
that anyone rearing chickens should be aware of if they want to protect their
With no or
limited biosecurity implementation, a backyard or small-scale poultry producer
is at a high risk of infectious diseases, such as Newcastle disease,
salmonella, and Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI).
To prevent and avoid these infectious poultry diseases
some of which are also a threat to human health, national flock health and the
economy, there is a need to implement basic biosecurity measures in small scale
back-yard chickens. Biosecurity should be a regulated standard measure,
implemented in all production facilities or places that rear poultry. It is the
cheapest and most effective method of disease control in poultry.
What is biosecurity? Biosecurity is a measure (method)
implemented in farms (mostly commercial farms) to prevent the introduction and
persistence of infectious agents through control of traffic (both humans and
vehicles) proper and adequate sanitation and isolation of flocks, particularly
young chicks. Biosecurity literally means provision of safety to living things.
“Bio” refers to life and “Security” means protection.
A year ago I was invited to a broiler farmer’s day in
Polokwane. This was a day to educate and share information with small scale
farmers on broiler production, management and disease prevention. I was given
the opportunity to do a presentation on biosecurity as a form of disease
prevention to a broiler producer community located in Kga-Matlala rearing and
producing 5500 birds per week, weighing between 370-400g at slaughter.
To demonstrate the low biosecurity measures
in these flocks, the broiler houses were located and fenced with residential
There was no entrance gate for human and
vehicle traffic control and restriction of movement of vehicles.
There was no control or records of the
visitors and, no farm safety clothes and shoes.
Cooking of poultry and other poultry products
take place on the farm.
No rodents, wild birds and foreign animals’
isolation programme existed on farm.
A mortality pit was not available.
The community consumed and sold birds that
had dies from unknown diseases to people in the same community. Feed and
bedding was not stored in a secure place.
The above are some very simple basic
biosecurity measures that need to be implemented by the community.
Because community members never understood how an
operational biosecurity works on a farm, I gave them some few importance points
on bio-security looking at the following points.
prevent entry of pathogenic organism into the farm
avoid profit losses due to diseases
protect human health
Benefits of bio-security:
keep out diseases
the spread of diseases
overall health of the flock
Three major biosecurity measures
required to control the spread of diseases:
of birds in different houses and far away from contact with ordinary people
Control of both people and vehicles
Record keeping as part of a disease
prevention biosecurity plan:
was on the farm?
were they on the farm?
brought them onto the farm?
they been on another poultry facility?
What should we
do? Given the current disease status at poultry farms in South Africa many may
agree on the importance of shifting focus, investing time and standardising
policies on implementing operational biosecurity measures to small-scale and
backyard farms through educational programmes and practical training. This is
an urgent matter due to the numerous reports of new castle disease outbreaks in
the back-yard poultry flock. In 2013 an outbreak of Newcastle disease from
backyard flock was reported to the Poultry Disease Management Agency office
through our engagement with the State Veterinarians. One to a lack of reporting
and co-ordination, the disease has spread into some commercial farms, affecting
the industry’s economy and production. Once an outbreak of infectious diseases
like Newcastle disease occurs and the diseases become established and endemic
in the country, it is very difficult to eradicate these diseases from the farm
and the control is both time consuming and money costly.
Disease Management Agency can start by having discussions on running the
biosecurity programme for small scale poultry farmers through engaging and
liaising with government’s animal health technicians and agricultural advisors,
who work directly with the small-scale producers and backyard chickens farmers,
to eventually help these farmers and protect the national backyard flock.
threat posed by poultry infectious diseases such as Newcastle as well as other
zoonotic diseases in smallholder poultry flocks, a comprehensive plan or
programme to identify simpler and adaptive methods/ways of implementing
biosecurity measures in the smallholder poultry flocks and educate farmers is
purpose is to protect the National Flock through education, monitoring and
management of diseases which threaten the health of the flock and food
Since most of
you will be reading this edition at Avi Africa, I could spend time sharing the
achievements and the challenges faced by the PDMA in the last year. However,
since there will be many other opportunities to do that, I would like to take
this opportunities to discuss a matter that is very close to my heart. I would
like us to reflect about what we are doing individually and collectively to
understand the disease situation in the country and how we can work together to
start reducing the national disease burden.
We have launched
a few initiatives that you may well be aware of. We are also working very
closely with DAFF to ensure consistency in the work and also to employ the
limited resources in the most productive manner. We wish to have the producers
as active participants in all these processes and hope that you will send your
contributions to make sure that these processes stay relevant to your needs.
1. Establishing the farm locations
In order to
effectively fight diseases, it is essential that we have a good idea of where
our poultry farms are. This also helps to mobilise the appropriate resources in
an event of a major disease outbreak. We would like to thank you for your
participation and as you can see from the diagrams below, we have made great
strides in this regard and it is through all your inputs and commitment.
Figure 1: Map
of farm locations based of 2013 coordinates
We have moved
from having farms in the ocean, Mozambique, Lesotho and even further north to
farms being limited to within the South African borders. This is indeed a great
achievement and it will help with further projects. Obviously we will continue
to make improvements to the information and get it as accurate and is humanly
Figure 2: Map
of farm locations based of 2014 coordinates
2. AI Surveillance changes and improvements
It is now a
known fact that in order to demonstrate our freedom from Highly Pathogenic
Avian Influenza, we have mandatory biannual testing to be done by all farmers.
The government is responsible for the testing of backyard and smallholder farms.
The commercial farmers are responsible for testing of their own flocks. Most of
you who do business in other country know the importance of such testing to
maintaining your businesses with the trading partners. The importance of this
cannot be over emphasised.
In the past, the
routine surveillance protocol was embedded in the AI contingency plan, which
those of you who have seen it would agree it is quite a cumbersome document,
but still very important document. Since routine testing is conducted twice a
year, it was decided that the surveillance protocol would serve the industry
better as a stand-alone easily accessible document. It is also important to
point out that even though our potential trading partners are only interested
in H5 and H7, in South Africa, all avian influenzas are controlled diseases.
This means that any positive influenza result has to be reported to the state
It is for this
reason that we have in the new protocol highlighted the need to start testing
with a screening ELISA and then typing any positive results into whatever
influenza that it may be. The positive results again need to be reported to the
state vets. This is essentially for your protection so that we can keep track
of the influenza circulating in the environment, including the ones that can
potentially destroy the industry. It is also important to note that all kinds
of influenzas are routines isolated in wild birds, meaning the threat is never
far away as evidenced by the ostrich situation.
We would like to
encourage you to keep testing and also to submit your test results to the local
state vet and also to SAPA for record keeping. If there are any of you who have
problems with identifying your local state vet, please let us know and we will
assist with the connections. Most provinces are good with data submission, but
there are some who in spite of spending money testing their flocks never submit
the results to the state. This unfortunately has a grave impact on not only the
province but the country as a whole, including other industries.
3. Food-borne Diseases Surveillance Project
As part of our
continued collaboration with the department, the PDMA is working with DAFF VPH
to develop a protocol for surveying the food-borne diseases. DAFF VPH in
collaboration with the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute is rolling out a
project to test beef, pork and poultry products for food-borne bacteria. We are
working with them to develop the poultry testing protocol that will be used by
both parties. The Onderstepoort Epidemiology Professors have been engaged to
draft this protocol. This protocol we help to standardise the work done by
industry as well as government. It helps to make better use of the limited
resources. It will help to produce meaningful reports that will help the
strategy for improving food quality and producing safe food for both parties.
Once the product
testing has been perfected, the focus with shift to the farm testing to limited
the transfer of pathogens from the farms to the forks. This project has already
started and we hope to conclude most of it during the course of 2014. The same
protocol will be used to monitor the imported products and also the products
intended for the export markets. It is also envisaged that the protocol will be
accepted by the retailers so that one standard testing can be conducted to
satisfy all the retailers.
4. Mycoplasma Surveillance Project
I think we are
in agreement that Mycoplasmas are probably the most important group of diseases
in poultry due to their resilience and tendencies to stick around despite all
efforts made to eradicate them from farms. Most producers have accepted that
they are going to have to farm with Mycoplasma and make the best of a very
of this, Prof Celia Abolnik gained funding from the Technology Innovation
Agency (TIA) to conduct research into the local mycoplasma situation and working
towards finding solution to the problem. The first stage of the project is to
collect circulation field strains and doing full genome sequencing to establish
the various types of strains, how they related to the available vaccines and
also how they differ from area to area. This project kicked-off in April 2014
and we are working through the veterinarians to get the information in. The
target populations are the table egg layers as well as all types of breeders.
All producers are encouraged to take part in the surveillance so that we can
start to work towards finding some solutions to the problem.
This phase of
the project will run from April to September 2014. If there are any of you who
wish to participate but do not have the services of a consulting vet, please
contact the PDMA and we can link you up with either a poultry-trained state vet
or one of the consulting vets in your area. This project is very important to
the fight against mycoplasma and we really encourage you to participate so that
we can start to make meaningful progress in the fight against the disease.
5. Laboratory collaboration for disease reporting
In 2014 during
the Newcastle Disease outbreak, the PDMA received numerous requests for updates
on the disease and how it was moving around the country. Unfortunately at the
moment the PDMA relies on the producers and the veterinarian to submit the
information. This has not worked very well thus far. In an attempt to get some
data coming in and reports going out, we are looking at working with the
laboratories to access the information. We will be signing an agreement with
the department, which will enable us as the PDMA to collect the information and
produce reports for the benefit of the industry at large. We will also be
working to further develop the disease reporting tools further.
that these are very difficult times for the industry and we plan to focus on
those things that will help the industry save money and still move forward. We
believe that reducing the disease burden will go a long way in assisting
because the more birds that one can sell, the more money one is able to make. I
urge you to continue providing feedback that will enable us to stay on track
and also employ these scarce resources for maximum output and results.
Bio-security is of immense help to reduce disease hazards and improve
health and productivity of birds. Optimum and profitable poultry production can
be achieved by reducing disease risk to minimum extent. Bio-security literally
means safety to living things- “bio” refers to ‘life ‘and “security” means
Bio-security refers to the measures and methods adopted to secure a
disease free environment for profitability of farm. It is reducing the chances
of infections agents from coming into contact with poultry thus protecting the
flock from infectious agents such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, parasites.
A recent outbreak of Newcastle disease has been making it’s ways and
affecting the industry’s economy and production. The initial outbreak was
detected from a flock of backyard chickens which made its way immediately to
the commercial farms. This just happened after a visit to the to the DPFO
farmer’s day where I did an operational bio-security presentation and firmly urged
the farmers to try and implement bio-security as soon as possible on their
farms. Maybe the focus to shift a bit into educating small-scale farmers about
in detail operational bio-security because the real work start at the
Diseases are produced by micro-organisms which are universal and single
organisms reproduce and multiply number of times. Disease incidences are higher
in old and densely populated poultry farms.
Prevention of the entry of pathogenic
organism into poultry premises.
Reduction of microbial
contamination of the surrounding area.
Total elimination of the
pathogenic organisms present within the premises.
BENEFITS OF BIOSECURITY INCLUDE:
Helps keep out diseases
Reduces the risks
Limits the spread of disease
Improves overall health of
Reduces mortality losses
DEVELOPING A BIOSECURITY PLAN, CONSIDER THE FIVE W’S:
Who is on your farm?
What is brought on to your
When are they there?
Where have they been?
Why are they there?
STEPS OF BIO-SECURITY:
There are three steps of bio-security:
1. Conceptual Bio-security
a) Location of farm in relation to concentration of poultry of same or
b) Distance among farms, hatcheries, processing/packing units
c) Connectivity with roads
d) Proximity of water supply.
2. Structural Bio-security
a) Fencing of farm to avert trespass.
b) Secure housing with suitable bird and rodent proofing, concrete floors,
correct positioning of exhaust fans to prevent air borne diseases, proper
ventilation and drainage facility.
c) Water supply to farm free from pathogens and chlorinated( 2ppm)
d) Farm comprising of office, storage and change room shower facilities.
e) Proper water and power supply to perform operations of
decontamination of vehicles entering the farm. With all clean weather roads to
prevent dissemination of disease agents by vehicles and footwear.
f) Installation of bins for pests free storage of bagged feed. Separate
storage unit for feed, litter and equipment away from live flock.
g) Installation for disposal of dead birds
3. Operational Bio-security
a) Development of operational manuals for routine procedures in farms.
b) Decontamination and disinfection of units following depletion of
c) Adoption of specific procedures on entry of farm managers,
supervisors, authorized visitors, employees or their exit.
d) Strict controls for prevention of contact with exotic and backyard
e) Proper vaccination.
Rodent and wild birds
Method of rearing
insects, lies, ice etc
Dispose of dead and
Personal hygiene of
Isolation of poultry farm
from other poultry reduces the risk of infection
Cross infection between
farms is reduced at least up to 50% if a barrier of 5km is
there.(Practically, isolation is more difficult because of the cost of
transportation, feed, egg, bird and supply labour).
2. SECURITY FENCING
Fencing of farm is very
important in restriction of entry of natural predators like jackel, ox,
and wolf for security and to protect from theft.
Booth bath at the point of
entry into each poultry farm will help in disinfection to a great extent.
Showering in and showering
out, that is staff, visitors and vehicles have no other entry to farm
other than the shower system.
3. FARM AND SHED
Batch interval before
introduction of new flock (15 days to 1 month)
Concrete floor for proper
and easy cleaning.
Clean thoroughly disinfect
with a suitable detergent and disinfectant
Proper curtains to protect
the flock from extreme climatic conditions and rain water entry with
Knowledge of prevention of
disease and to check bacterial load from microbiology laboratory
Plant trees not fruit trees
and do not allow grasses or weeds to grow around shed put gravel in
Distance between 2 different
sheds of same type is 30 feet and different type is 100 ft and poultry
house to hatchery is 500 feet.
Construct proper drainage
4. HUMAN TRAFFIC
Control of human traffic
including regular workers, visiting service man particularly weekend
veterinarian, who may visit several site in successive.
Do not allow any visitor
except on special circumstances like veterinarian.
If possible the visitor
should be covering all even boots ;supplied by the farm and disinfected
Record of all visitors to
site with name, date of visit, nature of business is must.
Staff and visitors having no
other entry to the farm other than shower system
Keep visitors to a minimum
Human transportation of disease-causing organisms is one of the more
serious threats to biosecurity.
Post signs at the entrance
to the farm indicating that entry to the farm and facilities are
Do not be afraid to ask any
visitors where they have been. They should not have been on a poultry farm
within 48 hours before visiting yours.
Owner should restrict
visitors and make sure that any visitor to their farm has a good reason to
be there. Visitors should never enter poultry houses unless approved by
the farm personnel.
Protective covering such as
boots, coveralls, and headgear to any visitors that work with, or have had
recent contact with poultry.
Traffic through poultry
houses should always flow from younger to older birds.
Keep records of visitors
that have been on the farm. If a problem arises, knowing who was there
will help in limiting additional flock infections.
5. RESTRICTING MOVEMENT OF VEHICLES
Transport vehicles enter
various farms regularly and are at great risk of infections. So, allow
vehicles only when necessary.
Avoid the entry of feed
truck in premises by holding feed tank at the farm and then distribute to
Use of detergent and
disinfectant outside and inside the drivers’ compartment. Sanitizing the
trucks as they enter the farm by disinfectants.
6. RODENT AND WILD BIRD CONTROL
Rats and rodents are great
disease spreaders and have to be controlled and eradicated
Make the shed rodent proof.
Wild birds have potential of
carrying infectious organisms restrict their entry to farm.
Do not throw away organic
material like dead birds, meat used food, feed etc around the shed which
attracts crows etc.
No litter should be around
the shed and should be transported away from shed.
Control movement of all
animals in the farm including dogs.
Entry of equipments from
farm to farm only after they are disinfected.
Egg flats from farm to
hatchery must be sanitized at hatchery.
Entry and exist of egg flats
into the farm and outside farm must be restricted.
Disinfect the feeder and watered.
8. WATER AND FEED
Water is a potent disease
spreading and vector for bacteria, fungi, and protozoa, thus must be
examined chemically as well as biologically for contamination at least twice
Feed acts as a vector for
Storage of excess feed must
Store in feed room above the
ground and away from walls.
Lumps in feeds must be
Feed tanks must be swept
every month, disinfected twice in month and fumigated at end of each crop
of birds to reduce bacterial count and mold growth. Mould inhibitors can
Check feed for toxins such
as a flatoxins etc. Heat treatment is helpful as it does not affect the
9. HEALTH MONITORING
1) Recognizing sick broilers
3) Maintain records
1) RECOGNIZING SICK BROILERS:
It is important to recognize sick birds. It is simple to check flock for
dead birds but it requires skill to recognize sick birds. When walking through
a flock, take time to scan the birds and spot individuals showing signs of
illness, such as:
Lethargy, lack of energy,
Loss of appetite
Swelling of the head, eyes,
comb, wattles and hocks
Purple discoloration of the
wattles, combs and legs
Coughing, wheezing, or
Lack of coordination or
Muscle tremors or twisted
Sudden or excessive
mortality without clinical signs
Decreased egg production,
soft-shelled or misshapen eggs for broiler.
Abnormal respiratory sounds,
of called a ‘snick’ can be heard. These sounds may have a variety of
characteristics such as a high-pitched ‘squeak’, a sudden’ chuck’ sound,
like a cough, or a gurgling or rattling sound.
3) MAINTAIN RECORDS:
i. Egg product
ii. Feed and water intake
iii. Mortality and Morbidity
iv. Entry and exist of outsiders
v. Parasites external and internal
a) FLOCK MORTALITY RECORDS will alert the producer of a potential problem,
which should trigger the appropriate response and the first of which will be to
find the cause of the problem.
b) PRODUCTION RECORDS
A producer keep daily feed and production record which helps to check
for drop in egg production or feed consumption, or a rise or fall in water
consumption and it aware the producer to a potential problem. A drop in feed or
water consumption can be a sign of an infectious disease.
A significant drop in consumption must be checked and specific
diagnostic actions taken. It included investigations of the watering or feeding
system to make sure that a failure in the supply has not resulted in the
consumption drop. In absence of physical reason diagnostic procedures should be
followed such as collection of feed and water samples.
A drop in egg production or fertility may be an indication of infectious
disease. Such drops should be investigated and diagnostic. Veterinarian advice
10. METHOD OF REARING
All in all out system: Only
one age group of birds on a farm and farm is populated at one single time.
Depopulating the farm
reduces the major disease threat.
11. CLEANING, WASHING AND DISINFECTTION
Proper cleaning and washing along with use of disinfectant after removal of litter and organic debris works best.
Washing at pressure range of 300-600 psi.
No disinfectant should be applied in water above 50o C
At each 3oC drop in temperature below 17 o C effectiveness of disinfectant is halved.
Keep areas around houses and feed bins clean
12. DESTRUCTION OF INSECTS, FLIES, LICE ETC
Insects, flies, lice etcact
as carrier of organisms.
Spraying insecticide should
before all other cleaning functions.
Destroy flies with
pesticides spraying or baiting, sprinkle bleaching powder for 5ft around
the shed when there are flies. Pesticides (0.05% of sumicidin) for lice
13. DISPOSAL OF DEAD AND SICK BIRDS
Disposal of birds by burying
Isolation and culling of
diseased or sick birds.
14. PERSONAL HYGIENE OF WORKER
Use of clean and separate
clothing meant for farm premises only.
Hand sanitizers and cleaning
tubs must all time be available in the shed.
Separate workers for different
age groups and different farms are must.
Sick persons kept away from
15. OTHER MANAGEMENTAL PROCEDURES
Litter material and feathers
in shed must be collected and burnt.
Avoid undue stress to birds.
Avoid and check spilling and
leakage of water, roofs etc.
Spiting and other bad habits
in workers kept in view.
TABLE : HOW TO MAINTAIN
BIOSECURITY IN THE FARM
FIGURE: SHOWING HOW
INFECTIONS/DISEASES REACH TO THE FARM VIA DIFFERENT MEANS
The PDMA have kick-started the year in high gear, which bodes well for the rest of 2014. We have had our first group of State Vets for training in 2014. These are 7 of the 20 that we will be working with this year. As with the previous year’s groups, these vets went through the refresher of the clinical year programme at Onderstepoort Veterinary Faculty. The refresher is mainly a practical programme that includes farms visits and lots of post-mortem hours. This year we have also added a significantly section on State controlled diseases and quarantines. This was informed by the difficulties encountered with the outbreaks of Newcastle Disease in 2013 and the handling thereof.
We take this opportunity to thank Dr Buks Wandrag and his team at OP and an even bigger thanks to Dr Deryn Petty from the Epidemiology and Biosecurity Unit of the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development GDARD). We will be running 2 more sessions for 2014 and these will be followed by 2 symposia that will be attended by both trained State Vets and Private vets. The training programme is recognised and accredited by the South African Veterinary Council and has been awarded 25 Continued Professional Development (CPD) points.
Disease Surveillance We would like to thank the producers who continue to take part in the Avian Influenza (AI) surveillance programme which allows us as the Poultry Industry to prove our freedom from H5 and H7. We would like to encourage you to continue supporting the programme.
This year we wish to look at the surveillance of Mycoplasma synoviae (MS) and Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG). We are looking at layers and breeders for this phase. The vets will be asked to assist with the collection of swabs from the layer and breeder farms so that an evaluation of the current circulating strains can be made in order to come up with better control and management tools. We request your participation in this regard.
In addition to Mycoplasma, we will be doing surveillance on H6 on the same layer and breeder farms. At the same time as when they are collecting the swabs for Mycoplasma, the vets will be collecting bloods for H6 testing. The H6 surveillance is aimed at establishing the spread of the disease in order to establish programmes to attempt eradication. This will be highly dependent on how widespread the disease is. With the same data, we will be able to establish the economic impact of the disease.
Government Engagement This year we continue with our government engagement on various Sanitary issues and looking at ways to improve the quality of the product provided to the consumers, while looking at export potential. We will keep you informed of the activities around these issues and how the industry can assist and participate in these initiatives. The success of the initiatives will go a long way in ensuring the continued survival and improvement of the industry as a whole.
We welcome you to 2014 and we hope you will be active participants and support the initiatives of the PDMA that will ensure continued improvements!
The holidays are over and it is time to hit the ground running again. This year is promising to be our most exciting year as we plan to solidify all the achievements of the past two years and finally getting the national programmes implemented. Here are some of the things we can look forward to in 2014:
Government Engagement We spent the better part of 2013 reviewing the protocols of the controlled diseases with the help of the SAPA Poultry Health Group vets and the GDARD, with the support of the DAFF colleagues. The drafts that were developed have been well thought through and will go a long way in simplifying how we deal with controlled diseases as industry and government together. These protocols will be circulated for further input and thereafter signed off and implemented.
We will continue to work with DAFF in establishing the national disease status of poultry and thereafter conduct a disease risk assessment to establish where the highest risk of disease introduction will come from. This will allow us to effectively protect the national flock from potential disease introduction, particularly of those diseases that South Africa is currently free.
In order to effect good disease control, it is important that solutions to culls and the cross provincial chicken movements are found. This will again help to limit the disease risks posed by the uncontrolled and unmonitored movement of chickens. It is also important to impress the importance of applying disease prevention actions that will protect not only the commercial sector, but also the backyard poultry to stop the spread of diseases and the devastation caused, a case in point being the current Newcastle Disease that is causing a lot of havoc in the country across all production systems.
Training of State Vet Poultry Experts The PDMA in collaboration with the Poultry Section of Onderstepoort successfully trained 18 state vets in 2013. Follow up contact sessions were conducted to enhance the initial training. The contact sessions were equally successful, thanks to the support of the Avimune vets and GDARD. The plan for 2014 is to train a new group of 21 state vets from various provinces. Symposia are planned for 2014 to continue with contact sessions for all the 2013 and 2014 to gain experience with dealing with field cases. The invitation will be extended to include all consulting vets to enhance the experience. This will also be used as a platform to get feedback on disease research and also what the future research requirements will be. This is an exciting adventure and we look forward to the benefits that will emanate from this initiative.
The highlight is that the one week refresher course at Onderstepoort carries 26 CPD points for the veterinarians, which is a great bonus to add to the practical knowledge they gain from the course.
Development of the National Residue Monitoring Programme (NRMP) It may seem as if very minimum progress has been made in this regard. That is not the case. Now industry has shared the protocols used to meet the retailers’ requirements with DAFF. This is the platform currently being used to develop the national programme. Work has already started in looking at spot tests of meat at various points to establish the current practices. This information is vital to the development of the standards that producers will need to meet to comply with the increasing quality standards demanded by the consumers.
Microbial Reduction Programme DAFF VPH is planning a large study on both microbials (mainly bacteria) and residues to establish where the various meat commodities are in terms of their standards. The poultry industry has already started extensive engagements to ensure that it plays a key role in supporting this work. The industry is very well placed to achieve this as it was already engaging with VPH for the same work. The industry has started the consultations with the Onderstepoort Epidemiologists to ensure that scientifically defendable sampling protocols are developed. These will feed into the survey planned by DAFF as well as the industry planned risk assessment. The bacteria to be surveyed have already been selected and all programmes will track the same bacteria to ensure synergy and consistency.
Producers will be requested to make their results for the routine bacterial tests that they perform to develop an extensive national database that will serve as a knowledge bank for both industry and DAFF.
Developing a searchable registered products database After many months of trial and error and working towards a simple system for the product database, we have finally managed to develop a system that will work much better and will be an effective tool for making information available to producers to make farming easy. The database will be go live during the first quarter of 2014, and will be accessible through a link on the PDMA website. This is a great milestone for the agency and we plan to have all registered Act 36 products listed by end of second quarter 2014.
Technical Support for DPFO Members Admittedly, this is one area of the agency’s work that is lagging behind. It is our intention to pay special attention to this work to ensure the agency continues to be inclusive. The plan is to work with the provincial structures of the DPFO to organise the members so that we can quantify the amount of resources required to provide meaningful support. We will work to assist with production improvement plans, with special emphasis on management issues as well as disease prevention through improved biosecurity and vaccination.
The DPFO members should support this initiative that will go a long way in assisting with issues that are holding them back and stopping them from reaching their potential. Your cooperation will be the determining factor in this regard. To those of you who were devastated by Newcastle Disease in 2013, we plan to engage you to ensure your flocks are adequately protected.
The agency strives to employ all types of communications tools to ensure that information is passed to the stakeholders timeously. It is in this light that we will continue to improve the experience on our website. The website is updated almost on a daily basis or as new information comes in. To make sure that our communication is inclusive, more disease information will be communicated to the producers in a form of short news clips on a weekly basis. Disease related information will be communicated on a weekly basis.
The PDMA relies on input from the field for information. It is for this reason that a disease notification application for tablets and smart phones has been developed. We would like to request all producers to encourage their veterinarians to feed information through so that everyone can benefit from up to date field knowledge that will allow the agency to send the hot news.
So, 2013 was extremely exciting for the agency. From where things stand, it looks like 2014 will be an even more excited year, where you will begin to see the benefit of having a hub for all disease related matters. We look forward to 2014 and your continued engagement.
Please remember to keep up with your vaccinations to protect your flocks from the disease scourges that continue to engulf the country and cause devastation!