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China to begin mass vaccination of poultry against H7N9 bird flu

China is to conduct a mass poultry vaccination programme this autumn in a bid to stamp out a virulent strain of avian influenza.

Last month the Chinese authorities announced that vaccination against the H7N9 strain would take place in two southern provinces.

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

But the country’s agriculture ministry said this week that vaccination would be carried out nationwide.

The move is part of a drive to combat the virus, which has claimed nearly 270 deaths since last October.

There have been some concerns that while a mass vaccination programme will reduce the clinical disease, it will not prevent the virus from circulating and can mask its prevalence.

Meanwhile, South Africa has confirmed two more cases of H5N8 virus in commercial layer farms in the provinces of Gauteng and Mpumalanga.

It follows two previous outbreaks in recent weeks in the country, which led neighbouring nations including Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia to suspend poultry imports.

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