Avian flu workshop prepares first response teamsBy Fred Miller
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture
- 34 USDA personnel were trained to serve as first responders in the event of an avian influenza outbreak.
- Participants learned poultry anatomy and practices for dealing with an outbreak.
- The response teams cover a six-state region, including Arkansas.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — A four-day workshop hosted by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture has prepared 34 USDA Veterinary Service personnel to be first responders in the event of an avian influenza outbreak.
The attendees were veterinarians and veterinary technicians with the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) District 4 who were seeking training specific to poultry.
“Many of those who attended have little or no experience with the poultry industry,” said Dustan Clark, Division of Agriculture extension poultry veterinarian.
The workshop, led by Clark and USDA poultry health specialist Terry Conger, introduced participants to the poultry industry, Clark said. It provided them with basic information on topics ranging from poultry anatomy, welfare and handling to necropsy and sampling procedures.
Workshop presenters included Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service and research faculty, USDA-APHIS veterinarians and wildlife biologist, poultry industry representatives and Arkansas State Veterinarian Brandon Doss.
They learned about both chicken and turkey production and got hands-on training with live birds. Clark said they learned about poultry anatomy and had practice performing necropsies and diagnosing illnesses.
They also learned about the differing needs of commercial poultry flocks and hobby flocks, Clark said. They are also prepared to perform avian flu surveillance on both wild birds and domesticated poultry and how to control an outbreak and halt it.
Conger said APHIS District 4, which includes Arkansas and five adjacent states, maintains five avian influenza “instant management teams.” One team is always on call, he said, and in the event of an outbreak, each team would work a three-week shift in the affected area.
Instant management teams are activated upon request by the state veterinarian whenever a state experiences an outbreak, Conger said.
APHIS District 4 includes Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Texas and Louisiana.
For more information on avian flu and biosecurity precautions, contact your local Cooperative Extension agent or visit www.uaex.edu.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service