U.S. Sen. Chris Coons speaks at the Emergency Poultry Disease Response workshop.

Poultry health

Emergency Poultry Disease Response workshop considers biosecurity, rapid response

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9:24 a.m., June 26, 2012--The University of Delaware hosted its fourth annual Emergency Poultry Disease Response (EPDR) certificate program June 18-21. The workshop, which was held on the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) campus, was aimed at teaching both local and international participants about preparedness planning, biosecurity and assessment, and rapid response techniques and technology with regard to avian disease outbreaks.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Avian Influenza Coordinated Agriculture Project 2, this year’s workshop included participants from all over the globe. Thirteen countries were represented, including Ghana, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Bolivia, Mexico and Japan. 

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U.S. Sen. Chris Coons spoke at the opening of the event, talking about the importance of having strong measures in place to curb any avian disease outbreaks and praising UD for its role in helping educate local and international audiences on the topic.

“I am thrilled that the University of Delaware continues to sponsor and support this unique program," Coons said. "As we’ve learned, avian influenza and other challenges to poultry health and poultry management are truly global. They spread quickly, they spread globally and they present a threat to all of us.” 

Coons talked about the importance of collaboration, saying there are important technical aspects in the management of modern poultry flocks that can and should be shared. "My hope is that you will go home having had a great four-day experience and saying to folks, ‘You ought to sign up, because this was an amazing experience,’ and then sharing ideas about how we can continue to strengthen and broaden a global community that is committed to feeding the many, many people who need what poultry brings.

"I just want to thank the University of Delaware for hosting this and for having such a positive global orientation, and for [their] national leadership role in making sure that we’re all able to deliver a secure poultry future,” Coons said.

Eric Benson, associate professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences (ANFS), explained that the course came about during international efforts in Romania and Bulgaria and that it is adjusted every year based on changes in avian disease understanding. 

Benson said feedback from past participants in the course has been positive, with many saying it "really helped them to make changes" in their understanding of the subject.

George Irvine, of UD’s Division of Professional and Continuing Studies, explained to the participants that they will soon be joining a group of poultry and veterinary professionals from across the world who are alumni of the program, and that they will need to “engage now, but engage also with each other later, because we can only work together on these problems, which are global. Disease doesn’t define borders, it steps right across them.”

During the intensive four-day workshop, participants received instruction from UD faculty members on things such as influenza viruses and detection, hands on surveillance swabbing and learned about equipment disinfection. 

The workshop wrapped up on Thursday, June 21, with Robin Morgan, dean of CANR, and Jack Gelb, chair of ANFS, handing out certificates to the participants, signifying that they had completed the course and that they are now official alumni of the EPDR program.

Article by Adam Thomas

Photos by Danielle Quigley

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