We analyzed the involvement of the rural poultry sector in outbreaks of low pathogenicity avian influenza (AI) in Italy in 2007–2009 and discuss possible measures for improving monitoring and control. A description of how the rural poultry sector is organized also is provided. Data were obtained by the AI surveillance system established in the areas affected by the outbreaks. The surveillance activities identified two H7N3 epidemics, in 2007 and 2009, both of which mainly involved the rural sector, yet these activities did not allow for the prompt eradication of the disease. Additional strategies could be adopted to avoid the persistence of AI within the rural sector, based on the regulation and control of poultry holdings at the top of the production chain.
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Vol. 55 • No. 1