The Avian Influenza Global Expert Group was established in September 2015 and brings together top scientists and experts from around the world to propose practical solutions to combat avian influenza in the short, medium and long term.
The group brings together senior representatives from the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH), world class scientists and industry representatives. Priority has been given to highlighting the huge importance of biosecurity in preventing the initial outbreak and reducing subsequent transmission.
- To deliver, or facilitate integrated, global practical solutions to prevent and combat avian influenza in the short, medium and long term.
- To come up with practical ways of changing the egg industry to better manage this threat.
- To pursue the ultimate long term goal of moving the commercial egg industry beyond Avian Influenza.
- To contribute to informed dialogue and decision making in the public interest.
- To be the link between the egg industry and the WOAH; with WOAH involved specifically on the issues of vaccination, long term goals and long term solutions.
Chair of Avian Influenza Global Expert Group
Ben Dellaert (56) is the director of AVINED. This is the Dutch national organizations for poultry and eggs. It represents the complete production chains for the production of poultry meat and eggs (famers, hatcheries, slaughterhouses, egg packing stations and egg processors).
Ben is an IEC member since 1999. In 2015-2017 he served as Chairman of the International Egg Commission (IEC). Within that organization he is the chairman of the Avian Influenza Global Expert Group, where global scientists and industry meet in order to develop and promote preventive measures against Avian Influenza.
From 2007 until the end of 2014 he was the general director of the Product Board Poultry and Eggs in the Netherlands.
In 1989 he graduated at the Agricultural University of Wageningen (Animal Production Science). After that he worked for several organizations in the Dutch agricultural business.
Professor Ian Brown OBE
Professor Ian Brown has been working as Head of Virology for over 10 years at the Animal and Plant Health Agency, UK. He is also a Director of WOAH/FAO International Reference Laboratories for Avian Influenza, Newcastle Disease and Swine Influenza. Ian is the UK national expert on Avian & Swine Influenza, and Newcastle Disease and a designated WOAH expert for the three diseases.
He provides a broad range of disease consultancy at both international and national level to a wide range of stakeholders on all the aforementioned diseases. Ian is a founder member of the OFFLU Laboratory Network and has taken the lead on a number of key international issues related to the work of this group both on the avian and swine subgroups. Ian has undertaken country specific missions to advise on the control of HPAI. His specific research interests include the epidemiology, pathogenicity, transmission and infection dynamics in relation to the control of influenza in animal hosts including zoonotic threat. Ian gained his PhD on ‘Epizootiology of influenza in pigs in Great Britain with emphasis on characterisation of viruses isolated since 1986’.
Ian holds a visiting Professorship position in Avian Virology at the University of Nottingham and Honorary Professorship in Pathobiology and Population Sciences with Royal Veterinary College, London.
Dr Travis Schaal
Dr. Travis Schaal serves as a Senior Key Account Manager with Boehringer Ingelheim, supporting egg layer producers in the USA.
He previously worked in the egg layer primary breeder industry, supervising farm and hatchery operations. He was responsible for biosecurity, animal welfare, flock health programs, and worked with distributor operations globally to produce hatching eggs and day-old layer chicks.
Dr. Schaal received an Honors B.S. degree in Animal Sciences and his D.V.M. from Oregon State University, and board certification as a Diplomate of the American College of Poultry Veterinarians.
Dr Ian Rubinoff
Dr. Ian Rubinoff is the Director of Sales with Hy-Line North America. Dr. Rubinoff started working with Hy-Line group in 2009 on sales, disease prevention, data, lighting, management, nutrition, export issues, and biosecurity with US and global producers.
Dr. Rubinoff started working with avian influenza in Dr. Dave Halvorson’s laboratory at the University of Minnesota collecting wild bird samples. On the global side, Dr. Rubinoff worked with many farms where both highly pathogenic and low pathogenic avian influenza was required due to the endemic nature in these countries.
Dr Alejandro Thiermann
Dr. Thiermann served, for 15 years, as president of the WOAH’s Terrestrial Animal Health Code Commission, the standard setting committee animal health and welfare. He was seconded to the WOAH, by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to serve this function, as well as special advisor to the Director General.
From 1996 to 2001, he was the Senior Trade Coordinator for USDA-APHIS in Brussels, with responsibility over Europe, Africa, Middle East, Russia and the former Soviet Republics.
From 1997 to 1999 he was twice elected Chairman of the Word Trade Organization’s WTO-SPS Committee. He has been a member of the Code Commission since 1994, and president until 2015.
A native of Chile, Dr. Thiermann received his doctorate of veterinary medicine degree from the University of Chile at Santiago, and a PhD degree from the School of Medicine at Wayne State University in Michigan.
Dr. Thiermann has retired after 37 years with USDA and 21 years in the Code Commission of the WOAH. He maintains his residence in Paris, France and consults for governments and private sector as expert in animal health and welfare, as well as international trade.
Professor Dr Arjan Stegeman
Arjan Stegeman is full professor of Farm Animal Health and Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases at Utrecht University, The Netherlands. He is a veterinarian by training and a diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Public Health. His research is focused on the epidemiology of infectious diseases in farmed animals aiming to unravel the mechanisms that determine the population dynamics of infections and establish the effectiveness of intervention measures. For that goal his group applies animal experiments, field studies and mathematical modelling. Regarding avian influenza, Arjan has been active at the science policy interface for many years.
Dr David Swayne
Dr David E. Swayne is a veterinarian with specialization as a Veterinary Pathologist and Poultry Veterinarian. For the past 34 years, his personal research has focused on pathobiology and control of avian influenza in poultry and other avian species. He has applied such science knowledge to global avian influenza control through ad-hoc committees and secondment to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and leadership in the OIE/FAO Animal Influenza Expert Network (OFFLU). Previously, he was the Laboratory Director at the US National Poultry Research Center’s high biocontainment research laboratory, which focuses on research in avian influenza and Newcastle disease.
Dr Wenqing Zhang
Heading the WHO Global Influenza Programme since November 2012, Dr Zhang provides leadership and coordinates global influenza surveillance and monitoring, detection of emerging novel viruses, risk assessment and evidence for policies, vaccine viruses and pandemic preparedness. From 2002 to 2012, Dr Zhang coordinated the WHO global surveillance of influenza. In response to 2009 A(H1N1) influenza pandemic, Dr Zhang directed the WHO Laboratory Response and Capacity. In the COVID-19 Pandemic, Dr Zhang has led the sentinel surveillance of SARS-CoV-2. Before joining WHO, Dr Zhang worked on tuberculosis, schistosomiasis and iodine deficiency disorder in China. Graduated from Medical School, Zhejiang University, with a bachelor degree on biomedical engineering and postgraduate training on system evaluation and epidemiology.
Dr Craig Rowles
Craig graduated from the Iowa State University College of Veterinary medicine in 1982. He moved to Carroll, Iowa, where he entered mixed animal practice with an emphasis in swine until 1996. Craig then left practice and entered into swine production and served as general manager and partner of Elite Pork Partnership, an 8,000 sow farrow to finish operation until 2014. Since then he has served as General Manager of Cage Free Operations for Versova Management Company. Versova owns and manages 30 million layers in Iowa and Ohio.
Kevin Lovell is a consultant scientific advisor to the IEC. He has served on a number of WOAH ad hoc groups, has been part of a disaster planning team for the UN and is also a trade advisor and negotiator.
Kevin’s previous position was as the CEO of the South African Poultry Association (SAPA) for eleven years. Prior to joining SAPA he served in various executive positions for the Royal Bafokeng Nation. He has also been the managing director of the Southern African subsidiary of a multinational dairy equipment company and has also worked as a sales and technical manager for various other agricultural companies. He has over 35 years of agribusiness experience throughout the eastern seaboard of Africa, from Ethiopia to South Africa.
Kevin has a BSc in agriculture from the University of Natal and a B.Inst. Agrar. (Hons) from the University of Pretoria. He has also done post graduate research work and has also acquired a range of business qualifications and skills over the years.
Dr Sylvie Briand, Director, Global Infectious Hazard Preparedness (GIH), WHO Emergency Preparedness (WPE), World Health Organization (Observer)