The Year 1 deliverables that have been initiated (GPS Coordinates, Analysis Algorithm and Software for entry and analysis) will be delivered by October 2008. Dr. Trampel will give a presentation on this project at the AAVLD/USAHA meeting in late October 2008. Following that presentation, the project team will work with CEAH to conduct testing and validation with poultry and emergency response experts. This will occur in November, December and January and modifications will be made as necessary. In the Spring, two table-top exercises will be conducted. Participants will include state veterinarians, AVICs and individuals with incident command experience along with representatives from the egg industry. Based on the feedback from the table top exercises, the BRM, exposure audits, and algorithms will be modified. The project team will develop training materials for auditors and producers. The training materials will be web-based and also in a format that could be delivered in-person. These training materials will be available in summer and early fall 2009.
NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: Since 2003, high pathogenicity avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 virus has spread to Asia, the Middle East, Africa , and Europe and has caused the death of over 250 million poultry and 245 people. High pathogenicity H5N1 is a constant threat to the US poultry industry. In response to this threat, the National Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Response Plan has been developed by USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS. This contingency plan provides operational guidelines for emergency responders to follow should HPAI occur in the United States. Under the National Plan, eggs and egg products from a non-infected egg production site in a Control Area would not be allowed to move for a minimum of 96 hours. Stopping the movement of eggs and egg products for 96 hours would be economically disastrous for a modern in-line egg production operation. A typical Midwest multi-age, in-line production facility has 1.5 to 4.0 million laying hens producing 1.2 to 3.2 million eggs daily for a value of $94,000 to $250,000 per day. Egg storage capacity at most modern production sites is limited to a maximum of 48 hours. If a large egg producer cannot transport eggs for longer than 48 hours, all eggs produced at that site would have to be destroyed. Also, today's modern egg industry operates on a "just-in-time" basis. Each day, eggs move from production sites to food service distributors, retail stores, and distribution centers of fast-food restaurants and grocery store chains. In the event of a disease outbreak and stop movement order, restaurants and retail grocery stores will run out of eggs in 24-48 hours and these businesses will look for an alternative source of eggs. Consequently, the greatest economic impact on egg producers will be the loss of markets, a loss which could be permanent. Creation of a plan to facilitate business continuity by allowing movement of eggs and egg products from non-infected premises within an avian influenza Control Area was the objective of a cooperative agreement between APHIS and researchers at Iowa State University. The result of this work is a document called the "Federal and State Transport Plan for Movement of Eggs and Egg Products from Non-Infected Commercial Table Egg Premises in a High Pathogenicity Avian Influenza Control Area - the FAST Eggs Plan." Components of the plan include the following: a) a Biosecurity Checklist for Egg Production Premises and Auditors; b) an Epidemiology Questionnaire developed by USDA APHIs, c) an Active Surveillance Program using RRT-PCR; d) Location Analysis using GPS coordinates for Egg Premises and Infected Premises in a Control Area; and e) an Analysis Algorithm that provides a Geospatial Risk Estimate which can be used by Incident Commanders as a rapid decision-making tool. Federal officials have indicated their intent to incorporate the FAST Eggs Plan into the National Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Response Plan. The FAST Eggs Plan developed at Iowa State University will enhance the level of biosecurity in egg operations across the nation and help protect the safety of our nation's food supply should an outbreak of HPAI occur in this country.
APPROACH: APHIS requirements for GPS coordinates have been obtained from the Geospatial unit at the Center for Epidemiology and Animal Health in Fort Collins, Colorado. An information technologist at Iowa State University is currently developing software that will allow on-going surveillance data and location analysis to be entered daily on the World Wide Web. All data will be processed using pre-designed analysis protocols. A qualitative (high, medium, low) or quantitative assessment of a flock's exposure risk can be estimated. State or Federal animal health officials can then review the analysis and determine whether to allow movement of shell eggs and liquid egg products. AgriStats has provided the raw data for mortality, feed consumption, and egg production from 27 normal flocks. Data for water consumption is not available, so that data will not be included in our study of normal parameters. We would have obtained production records for 3 flocks from each of 3 different strains of chickens (W36, LSL, and Bovans) from 3 farms (each of which is under different management). A statistician at the Center for Epidemiology and Animal Health in Fort Collins, Colorado will use these numbers to determine the standard deviation for each of the 3 indicators during the first and second production cycles. We have selected three regions for comparison. Region 1 includes Iowa and Minnesota; Region 2 includes California; and Region 3 includes Pennsylvania. To test and validate the exposure assessment tool, a sample scenario will be presented to the computer program and to a panel of experts. Both the program and the panel will be asked to determine if a set of premises with differing data should be allowed to move eggs and egg products. Results of the program and the experts' review will be compared. The panel's review or the model will be revised as necessary. The project team is currently developing training materials for auditors and producers. Members of the team have extensive experience with developing such training materials from previous projects.