Broader use of bird flu vaccine being considered in Asia
Southeast Asian veterinary officials meeting in Bangkok this week will consider a recommendation from the Food and Agriculture Organization that urges the increased use of the bird flu vaccine on chickens in the region, Agence France-Presse reports.
The proposal follows a resurgence of the disease that earlier this year killed 24 people in Thailand and Vietnam and left 200 million chickens dead.
"The FAO is going to give revised guidelines and we will be in some ways supporting more vaccination than before," said FAO official Joseph Domenech. "They won't protect 100 percent against infection, and some animals could carry the virus, but they will not contribute to outbreaks."
Since the crisis peaked in February, several nations, including Thailand — the world's fourth-largest poultry source — have banned the vaccine until further research is complete. Domenech said the risk to vaccinators from potentially infected chickens is marginal.
China, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam have all reported new cases of the disease since its height. The new reports led the European Union to renew its ban on imported chicken from nine countries until sometime next year. The EU also ruled it would not import chickens from any country administering the vaccination (AFP, July 28).
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