The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association has signed an agreement with ACDI/VOCA to provide technical assistance regarding the recent highly pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) outbreaks internationally. The two organizations will assist in recruiting U.S. poultry health experts who will provide technical assistance to countries fighting HPAI.
According to Dr. Elizabeth Krushinskie, vice president of food safety and production programs at USPOULTRY, “We are working with ACDI/VOCA and U.S. government agencies to coordinate the recruitment, training and equipping of veterinary experts from the U.S. poultry industry to support the international efforts to stamp out the Asian HPAI (H5N1) virus in birds.”
USPOULTRY’s initial focus will be helping to facilitate the development of a pool of poultry industry experts who will be available for rapid deployment to foreign countries to assist with the ever-growing HPAI prevention, diagnosis and response needs. According to Krushinskie, over 70 individuals have indicated an interest in participating so far and several veterinarians have already been deployed. These individuals will be trained in cooperation with U.S. government agencies responsible participating in the eradication efforts.
“This is a great opportunity for the U.S. poultry industry to contribute to the HPAI eradication efforts overseas with the objective of eliminating the disease before it becomes a significant issue for us,” she said. “We have some of the most highly trained poultry health experts here in the United States and we are willing and ready to step up to the plate and provide assistance in the fight against this virus. HPAI is a significant animal agriculture disease as well as a human health threat and must be eradicated at the source as soon as possible.”
Krushinskie has traveled across the globe assessing HPAI preparedness and developing diagnostic capability in some of the former Soviet Union countries such as Armenia. She will assist the World Bank organization and the U.S. Agency for International Development by traveling to the Ukraine to conduct a preparedness assessment for detecting, diagnosing and containing the virus. This will mark her third international trip to assist with HPAI control efforts.