Since 1996, the emergence of Asian-origin highly pathogenic avian influenza subtype H5N1 has spurred great concern for the global poultry industry. In the United States, there is concern over the potential of a foreign avian disease incursion into the country. Noncommercial poultry operations, such as upland game bird facilities in the United States, may serve as a potential source of avian disease introduction to other bird populations including the commercial poultry industry, backyard flocks, or wildlife. In order to evaluate how to prevent disease transmission from these facilities to other populations, we examined biosecurity practices and bird movement within the upland game bird industry in the United States. Persons that held a current permit to keep, breed, or release upland game birds were surveyed for information on biosecurity practices, flock and release environments, and bird movement parameters. Biosecurity practices vary greatly among permit holders. Many facilities allow for interaction between wild birds and pen-reared birds, and there is regular long-distance movement of live adult birds among facilities. Results suggest that upland game bird facilities should be targeted for biosecurity education and disease surveillance efforts.
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Vol. 55 • No. 2