October 27, 2011


Climate change and its possible potential effects on poultry parasitic diseases
Climate change can alter poultry’s relationship with parasites and vectors. These changes can influence where parasites and vectors thrive, making certain geographical regions more or less amenable to them. Climate change can also alter when and for how long parasites and vectors pose a threat to the birds. Climate can determine how vectors/ pathogens are distributed, transmitted and evolve, and can influence the factors associated with emerging poultry diseases and how birds respond to those diseases. Significant environmental changes have been well documented in recent decades, and some of these changes are causing trouble the poultry.
Regular parasite and disease surveillance is necessary as this will provide up-to-date information about changes in vector/ pathogen prevalence and intensity/ populations. Laboratory and field research will help illuminate how climate changes influence vector/ pathogen characteristics, and models will help researchers and producers to predict and plan for vector/ pathogen threats.
“More and more countries are indicating that climate change has been responsible for at least one emerging or re-emerging disease occurring on their territory. This is a reality we cannot ignore and we must help Veterinary Services throughout the world to equip themselves with systems that comply with international standards of good governance so as to deal with this problem,” explained Dr Bernard Vallat, DG of the OIE.
Climate change and its possible potential effects on poultry parasitic diseases
Poultry flocks are particularly vulnerable to climate change because birds can only tolerate narrow temperature ranges. Poultry farmers need to consider making adaptations now to help reduce cost, risk and concern in the future.
Potential disadvantages of climate change include:
  • More heat stress in both housed and outdoor flocks
  • Reduced egg production and growth rates at higher temperatures
  • Higher mortality rates in outdoor flocks, resulting from extreme weather events
  • More expensive housing to withstand storms and temperature fluctuations
  • More effective ventilation and cooling systems to counteract higher temperatures
  • Higher energy costs to operate ventilation systems more frequently
  • Increased persistence of some endo and ecto parasites with associated increase in medication
  • Increased mortality and reduced production due to increased mycotoxins in feed
Adaptation suggestions include reviewing poultry house building design in new builds to more effectively cope with new climate and weather extremes, including the installation of more/new equipment to cope with new climate extremes.

Mitigating measures include the installation of renewable energy such as solar or wind power to power poultry sheds, and using biomass boilers or anaerobic digestion of poultry litter.



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