Exposure assessment of carcass disposal option in the event of a notifiable exotic animal disease: Application to avian influenza virus

Simon J.T. Pollard, Gordon A.W. Hickman, Phil Irving, Rupert L. Hough, Daniel M. Gauntlett, Simon F. Howson, Alwyn Hart, Paul Gayford, Robert Gent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We present a generalized exposure assessment of 28 disposal options for poultry carcasses in the event of a highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreak. The analysis supports a hereto unverified disposal hierarchy for animal carcasses, placing waste processing (e.g., incineration and rendering) above controlled disposal (e.g., landfill), above uncontrolled disposal (e.g., burial on-farm). We illustrate that early stages of the disposal chain (on-farm) pose greater opportunities for exposure to hazardous agents than later stages, where agents are generally contained, wastes are treated, and residues are managed by regulated processes. In selecting carcass disposal options, practitioners are advised to consider the full range of hazards rather than focusing solely on the HPAI agent, and to give preference to technologies that (i) offer high destruction efficiencies for target pathogens; (ii) do not give rise to significant releases of other pathogenic organisms; and (iii) do not release unacceptable concentrations of toxic chemicals. The approach offers an exposure assessment perspective for carcass disposal, thus providing a risk-informed basis for contingency planning and operational intervention. The authors recognize that relevant legislation, public perception, available capacity, and cost also need to be considered when selecting disposal options in the event of HPAI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3145-3154
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume42
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2008

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