International authorities not surprised by AI changes

10-11-2006 | |

International authorities say that it will not come as a surprise if reports of a new ‘Fujian-like’ sublineage of avian influenza identified recently are confirmed as being accurate, and they have urged increased surveillance when vaccinating.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) again recommend that vaccination control measures be accompanied by surveillance and post-vaccination monitoring. They also stressed the need to immediately report to veterinary authorities any unexpected poultry deaths.
While there is a wide variety of avian influenza strains in animals, and influenza viruses in general have a high rate of change from season to season and from year to year, OIE Director-General Bernard Vallat and FAO’s Chief Veterinary Officer Joseph Domenech warn that with new antigens developing continually in avian influenza viruses, vaccines currently in use for poultry need to be assessed regularly.
Vaccination remains part of the FAO-OIE strategy to contain avian influenza and both organisations say that vaccination campaigns should be applied appropriately and carefully monitored according to FAO and OIE technical guidelines, including the use of a cold chain in order to protect the vaccine.
Vaccination must be carried out along with other disease control measures, such as improved hygiene on the farm, animal movement management or market inspection and culling in case of outbreaks, said Dr. Domenech.
FAO, the OIE and a myriad of scientific experts on avian influenza have repeatedly called upon scientists around the world to share their findings and virus strains in a timely and transparent fashion. The OIE/FAO Avian Influenza Laboratory Network is a platform where member countries and scientists can share valuable information with the international veterinary and medical community.