Forlì, 6 April 2017 - During the 50th International Poultry Exhibition, veterinarians of SIPA (Società italiana di patologia aviare - Italian Society of Avian Pathology) have made the point on the health status of chickens, turkeys and guinea fowls.
The levels of biosafety of farms have been increased because the avian influenza virus is likely to spread again next winter.
In the Italian poultry farms, the health situation is under control. The only concern for the future is the avian influenza epidemic, that, earlier this year, spread in some farms - particularly turkey ones - in the North of Italy. This is the overall picture of the first day of the 56th SIPA conference, currently taking place at the International Poultry Exhibition.
There is a lot of good news, for example the further decline of salmonella-positive flocks of laying hens. "This shows that the monitoring and control national plan is perfectly working” said Antonio Camarda, professor at the University of Bari.
Therefore the cases of avian influenza are the only negative point. The first cases identified were those of the wild anatidae of the Grado Lagoon, that were recorded between January and March; the other cases were recorded in ten professional farms (most of them were turkey ones) and some small rural farms, involving four northern regions (Piedmont, Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia Romagna). The isolations carried out by diagnostic laboratories showed that a heterogeneous group of highly pathogenic influenza virus of the subtype H5, widely spread in the wild poultry population, caused these outbreaks.
This is why veterinarians are not extremely worried about next winter: in order to protect farms that are located along the flyways of Anatidae, biosafety rules must be strictly implemented. However, it should be recalled that the 2016-2017 epidemic outbreaks were limited thanks to local veterinarians who immediately informed their national veterinary service colleagues about suspected cases. This shows that the health of Italian avian species is in good hands.