Surviving HPAI – Dr. Carol Cardona, University of Minnesota


Dr. Carol Cardona, University of Minnesota School of Veterinary Medicine; Dr. Julie Helm, Clemson Livestock Poultry Health; Myah Walker, Dirctor of Quality and Training at Sparboe Farms

Episode 47: Surviving Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza

Podcast Topic

Today’s episode is focused on a hot topic in the poultry industry and that is Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). The poultry industry has come a long way in how we manage HPAI outbreaks, and we will touch on what we continue to learn and how that will help us moving forward.


Dr. Cardona starts with some background on HPAI. The outbreak in 2022 has so far affected more than 30 states and 50 million birds. (5:07)

Dr. Helm explained that wild ducks and geese in North America carry many different strains of a low pathogenic AI. When high pathogenic strains come from Europe and Asia they intermix with the North American strains, which typically mellows the high pathogenic strains. (15:19)

Myah Walker shared lessons learned from the 2015 outbreak, which includes ensuring biosecurity is tidied up. This can be employee training which is constant because of turnover, communication internally and externally about biosecurity processes and communication with peers to share best practices. (23:48)

Dr. Cardona addressed free range birds being infected by wild birds and said that wild birds are attracted to poultry farms either by food or water. By protecting feed and ensuring wild birds don’t come for feed, the outdoor spaces could have the same infection rate as indoor birds. (33:03)

Myah Walker said in addition to economic impacts, there are mental health impacts of HPAI as well. Depopulating a house takes a mental toll on employees, owners and growers because they feel a lack of control and sometimes blame themselves. (38:43)

Dr. Helm wrapped up by saying if you’re in the industry, get to know the state person who will help you with a response and get to know them before an outbreak hits to go over your plans. (50:30)

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This podcast is sponsored by Balchem Animal Nutrition and Health. This podcast is sponsored by Balchem. All views expressed by the guests are the opinions of those individuals and are not the views of the Balchem, its affiliates or employees.