The development and implementation of disease mapping and monitoring programs can be useful tools for rapid communication and control of endemic and epidemic infectious diseases affecting the food animal industry. Commercial livestock producers have traditionally been reluctant to share information related to animal health, challenging the large-scale implementation of such monitoring and mapping programs. The main objective of this study was to assess the perception of poultry professionals toward disease mapping and monitoring programs and to identify groups of poultry professionals with similar perceptions and attitudes toward these projects. We conducted a survey to identify the perceived risks and benefits to be able to properly address them and encourage industry participation in the future. An anonymous online survey was developed and distributed to poultry professionals through industry and professional associations. The participant's demographic information and perceptions of risk and benefits from participation on voluntary poultry disease mapping and monitoring programs were collected. Multiple correspondence analysis and hierarchical clustering on principal components were performed to identify groups of professionals with similar characteristics. A total of 63 participants from 21 states filled out the survey. The cluster analysis yielded two distinct groups of respondents, each including approximately 50% of respondents. Cluster 1 subjects could be characterized as optimistic, perceiving major benefits of sharing farm-level poultry disease information. However, they also had major concerns, mostly related to potential accidental data release and providing competitive advantages to rival companies. Cluster 2 subjects were characterized as perceiving a lesser degree of benefits from sharing farm-level poultry disease information. This second cluster mostly included production and service technicians. The roles and perceptions of risk and benefits of the participants contributed significantly to cluster assignment, while the represented commodity and geographic location in the United States did not. Successful development of voluntary poultry disease mapping and monitoring programs in the future will require that different sectors of poultry professionals be approached in different manners in order to highlight the benefits of the programs and to achieve maximum participation.
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Vol. 65 • No. 1