Background update:Mar 9, 2016

AI vaccination, a valuable tool

With an avian influenza virus strongly embedded in the world’s wild bird population, mutated from known prevalent subtypes into strains that caused havoc in poultry production during the spring bird migration, every countermeasure that exists is of great value to the industry.

Vaccination with a so-called vector vaccine can help to mitigate the damage avian influenza inflicts.

Even with a vaccine developed, however, there are still many hurdles to overcome. One is the acceptance of use of the new vaccine by legislators. The other is the weighing of pros and cons. A vaccine can protect birds to a great degree, but not 100%. This will have serious consequences for its acceptance in some export markets. There will be no sense in protecting layers, when the export of billions of dollars of dark broiler meat, especially, is at stake. At least when economics are held in higher favour than animal welfare.

Further improve biosecurity

AI vaccination can be implemented as a valuable tool to prevent and control the virus. But even when the pros outweigh the cons, it will only be one tool in the toolbox. The most important tools will be to further improve biosecurity. Not only in protocols, but also through verifiable actions. And through early warning, followed by preparations to deal with the consequences of an outbreak fast and efficiently.

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