Avian Influenza in Italy,
Summary: Italy has reported an outbreak of highly pathogenic Avian Influenza on a commercial turkey farm in the northeast part of the country. Orthomyxovirus H7N1 was confirmed by laboratory diagnosis on 17 December 1999. As of 17 December, all 30,000 susceptible birds had died and their carcasses had been destroyed.
With over 11 percent of world turkey stocks, Italy ranks third in the world behind the United States and France. Chicken production in Italy is much smaller from a world perspective. Most of Italys poultry trade is with Western European countries, although Italy has imported live chickens and turkeys from Hungary, and live chickens from Brazil.
U.S. imports of poultry and products from Italy are minimal, however, the U.S. imported 800 live birds--which were classified as "chicken, duck, turkey"--between January and October 1999. Human passenger traffic from Italy is substantial, however, if the outbreak remains localized in northeast Italy then risk from human passengers is probably negligible.Questions regarding risk to the U.S. focus primarily on imports of live birds, including the 800 live chickens, ducks, or turkeys known to be imported from Italy through October 1999.
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA
How extensive is the situation in the affected country, and what was the countrys disease status prior to the outbreak?
Italy has reported to the Office International des Epizooties (OIE) an outbreak of highly pathogenic Avian Influenza on a commercial turkey farm. The farm is located in Salizzole which is in northeast Italy, Verona Province, Veneto Region. Orthomyxovirus H7N1 was confirmed by laboratory diagnosis on 17 December 1999. As of 17 December, all 30,000 susceptible birds had died and their carcasses had been destroyed. A protection and surveillance zone near the affected turkey farm has been set up, according to the report from Italy. The last previous outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Italy was January 1998, also in the Veneto Region. In August 1998, Italy had reported complete eradication of the January 1998 outbreak and the lifting of all control measures by February 1998.
Source: OIE Disease Information Report, 24 December 1999
What is the countrys place in the international market for affected animals and animal products?
Turkey stocks in Italy are the third largest in the world, behind the United States and France. Italy holds over 11 percent of world turkey stocks. Chicken production in Italy is much smaller from a world perspective. Italy had 0.01 percent of world chicken stocks in 1999, roughly equal in this regard to countries such as Spain, Nigeria, and the Philippines. Most of Italys poultry trade is with Western European countries, although Italy imports live chickens and turkeys from Hungary, and live chickens from Brazil.
Source: United Nations FAO
What is the countrys production and trade in affected animals and animal products?
In 1999, Italys poultry stocks consisted of 27.7 million turkeys; 130 million chickens; and an undetermined, smaller number of geese and ducks. Approximately 43 million turkeys and 500 million chickens were slaughtered in 1999 to yield 361,200 metric tons (mt) of turkey meat and almost 800,000 metric tons of chicken meat. Italy also produced 751,000 mt of eggs in 1999.
In 1998, Italy imported about 994,000 live turkeys, primarily from the United Kingdom, France, and Hungary. Italian live turkey imports were 3.9 percent of the world market. Italy exported 732,000 live turkeys in 1998, or 1.8 percent of world exports of live turkeys, primarily to Germany, Spain, Belgium-Luxembourg, and other European Union countries.
Italy imported 14.1 million live chickens in 1998 and exported 12.3 million live chickens. Italian live chicken imports and exports each represented 1.9 percent of world imports and exports. In 1998, Italy also exported 4,000 geese and imported 87,000 ducks and 204,000 geese. Italian live geese imports represented 23 percent of the 893,000 live geese traded worldwide in 1998.
Italy is a net exporter of turkey meat, chicken meat, and rendered poultry fat. In 1998, Italy exported $139 million worth of turkey meat, $58 million worth of chicken meat, and $2.4 million worth of poultry fat. Italian chicken meat imports were valued at $21 million; fat of poultry imports were valued at $0.23 million; and turkey meat imports were valued at $17 million. Italy also exported and imported relatively smaller quantities of eggs including eggs in the shell; hen eggs; eggs, liquid, dried; and eggs dry whole yolks.
Source: United Nations FAO, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service
What are the U.S. imports of affected animals or animal products from the country?
U.S. imports of poultry and products from Italy are minimal, however, the U.S. imported 800 live birds--which were classified as "chicken, duck, turkey"--between January and October 1999. Value of the 800 birds was $3,000. Probably no poultry meat or product was legally imported into the U.S. from Italy; the only possible exception could have occurred in "meat, salted, dried, etc." Salted, dried meat from Italy valued at $12 million entered the U.S. in both 1998 and 1999 (through October), although the meat was not specifically classified as poultry.
Source: World Trade Atlas
What is the level of passenger traffic arriving in the United States from the affected country?
In 1997 (most recent data), 5,664 direct flights from Italy carried about 1.04 million passengers to U.S. Airports. Additional passengers from Italy entered the U.S. on non-direct flights.
The Agricultural Quarantine Inspection (AQI) Monitoring Program conducted by USDA, APHIS found 30 of the 2,489 sampled airline passengers arriving in the U.S. from Italy during the period 10/1/97 through 9/30/98 to be carrying chicken, eggs, or meat that was fresh, canned, cooked, or sandwich. AQI numbers are one indication of the amount of relevant agricultural products illegally entering the U.S. via airline passengers. The top destinations reported by the 2,489 sampled passengers were CA, NY, FL, IL, and TX. Seven passengers reported going to visit or work on a farm or ranch while in the U.S., although none of those found with poultry or meat products were among them.
Humans may potentially transmit Avian Influenza to animal and bird species, although the risk is moderate to low. Strains of virus believed to be derived from human sources have caused disease in chickens and calves. Mechanical transmission of the virus from humans to birds is more likely than biological transmission, although the risk of mechanical transmission is moderate.
Source: U.S. Dept. of Transportation; USDA,APHIS,PPQ - Agricultural Quarantine Inspections database; The Potential for International Travelers to Transmit Foreign Animal Diseases to US Livestock or Poultry, USDA, APHIS, VS, August 1998
Questions to resolve regarding risk to the U.S. focus primarily on live poultry imported to the U.S. from Italy in 1999. Human passenger traffic from Italy is substantial, however, risk from human passengers is low if the outbreak remains localized in northeast Italy. Poultry product imports from Italy are minimal or nonexistent.
CEIs plans for follow up on this outbreak:
CEI will continue to monitor whether the outbreak spreads in Italy. If the outbreak remains contained, CEI has no plans to formally provide more information. If you seek more information or wish to comment on this worksheet, please reply to this message or telephone David Cummings at (970) 490-7895.
Prepared by: Center for Emerging Issues, Centers for Epidemiology and Animal Health
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA