Conference on poultry vaccination to combat H5N1

by Editor
Friday, March 30, 2007

An international conference in Verona dealt with the combination of poultry vaccination with other control measures to combat H5N1.

Around 400 experts reviewed the recent experiences and achievements of vaccination programmes carried out in many countries worldwide. The conference was jointly organised by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie (IZSVe), with the support of the European Commission.

In 2007, the avian influenza virus has re-emerged in domestic birds in 11 countries. In Indonesia, Egypt and Nigeria, the disease has become endemic. To date, there are 169 confirmed human deaths due to infection with H5N1 virus.

The conference recommended that poultry should be vaccinated against avian influenza, particularly in endemic countries and when other control measures such as stamping out, movement controls of poultry and biosecurity cannot stop the spread of the virus.

A successful vaccination campaign depends mainly on the use of high quality vaccines complying with OIE standards, appropriate infrastructure to ensure the rapid and safe delivery of vaccines (cold chain), monitoring of vaccinated flocks, movement control of poultry, and adequate financial resources.

The conference urged the development and funding of more research in the fields of vaccine development, also vaccines that combine protection against H5N1 with the control of other poultry diseases, design of cost-effective delivery systems, impact of vaccination on production consumption and trade etc.

Participants of the Verona conference also proposed to develop communication strategies to improve the vaccination coverage, to avoid possible market shocks and to apply basic biosecurity measures.