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IEC steps up work around avian influenza

The International Egg Commission (IEC) is providing a range of additional information on tackling avian influenza as part of its work to ensure members can tackle the disease.

The IEC announced that its AI global expert group had produced a biosecurity booklet for members and information around vaccination.

It has also opened up channels with the World Health Organisation in light of concerns about the H7N9 virus and its links to human health.

Julian Madeley, IEC director general, said he hoped the WHO would become a member of the IEC within the next 12 months, adding that a first meeting was planned in the near future. The OIE – the World Organisation for Animal Health – and the Consumer Goods Forum are among organisations that are already members.

Mr Madeley said it was important that the IEC was able to prepare the industry in case of any real spread of the H7N9 virus.

Ben Dellaert, IEC chair, said the AI global expert group, which was established in 2015, had produced the biosecurity checklist booklet, enabling companies to use it in their businesses around the world to prevent the spread of AI.

Mr Dellaert added that the group, represented by some of the leading scientific experts across the globe, had also produced information around vaccination.

“It is for those who are thinking about using vaccination in a region or a country and it talks about the pros and cons of vaccination,” he said.

It emerged that the OIE is to look at global laying hen standards, although the timetable is current unclear. Work is being led by Kevin Lovell, who stepped down last year as chief executive officer of the South African Poultry Association after 11 years. Mr Lovell represents the IEC on the OIE ad-hoc working group on animal welfare.

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