International avian influenza summit to be held in Arkansas

by George Jared ([email protected]) 496 views 

The International Avian Influenza Summit will bring hundreds of poultry industry professionals together for two days in October to address the global challenges of avian influenza.

The summit aims to foster collaboration among experts, scientists, lawmakers, farmers, academia and other stakeholders in the poultry field. The two-day, hybrid event will be held Oct. 16-17 at the Don Tyson Center for Agricultural Sciences in Fayetteville.

Guillermo Tellez-Isaias, research professor for the Center of Excellence for Poultry Science and the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, chairs the organizing committee for the summit. He said the event will address the effects of highly pathogenic avian influenza, or HPAI, which has wreaked havoc on the poultry industry worldwide since the latest outbreak began in 2022.

According to the World Health Organization, 67 countries on five continents reported HPAI in poultry and wild birds. In 2023, another 14 countries reported outbreaks, mostly in the Americas. This year in the U.S., HPAI was confirmed in 47 states, affecting 58.7 million birds.

“HPAI is a highly contagious, often fatal disease that affects poultry and wild birds,” Tellez-Isaias said. “It can cause a rapid decline in flock health and significant population declines. A major HPAI outbreak could have a devastating impact on this industry, leading to job losses and higher food prices.”

The Center of Excellence for Poultry Science is a unit of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and the University of Arkansas Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences. The center represents the three land grant mission areas of teaching — carried out through Bumpers College — and research and extension through the Division of Agriculture’s Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service.

About 20 speakers from around the world will provide unique perspectives of how avian influenza has affected different countries and various segments of the industry.

Tellez-Isaias said he encourages anyone with an interest in poultry to attend the free event, either in person or online.

“This summit will be a great opportunity to network with other professionals who are working to address the challenges posed by avian influenza,” he said. “Participants will gain insight from leading experts in the field, stay up to date on the latest HPAI developments and get involved in efforts to prevent and control it.”