Trade in poultry and poultry products occurs on a global scale. While this makes the best breeding and commercial stock available to producers and offers consumers an increasingly greater choice, it has potential drawbacks in terms of spread of poultry diseases between trading partners. It is important to assess and manage these disease risks to ensure that global trade does not result in dissemination of poultry diseases; however, it is also important that the risk of disease should not be used as an unjustified non-tariff trade barrier. This OIE Scientific and Technical Review entitled ‘Diseases of poultry: world trade and public health implications’ has been commissioned to provide up-to-date information which will allow these twin aims to be reconciled, as far as is possible.

The Review consists of individual chapters, written by acknowledged world experts, each covering a specific avian disease considered to be important either from an animal or a public health perspective. Most of the OIE Lists A and B diseases are included, as are other conditions such as avian rhinotracheitis, poult enteritis complex, and infections with reoviruses, adenoviruses, Campylobacter and the paratyphoid salmonellae. A special chapter is devoted to diseases of ostriches and other ratites.

The authors have provided a description of the signs and pathology of the disease, the important characteristics of the aetiological agent including epidemiology, laboratory diagnostic methods, an assessment of public health implications, and currently available methods for prevention, control and treatment. In most cases, the authors also provide their assessment of the disease risks posed by trade and suggestions for minimising these risks. Sufficient references to the literature are provided to enable the reader to access key information directly.

This issue in the OIE Scientific and Technical Review series is not intended to replace any of the existing textbooks on poultry diseases. The aim of the book is to provide, in reasonably concise form, information on poultry diseases relevant to export/import decisions which will be of use to all with an interest in trading safely in poultry and poultry products.