- Bird flu has killed hundreds of millions of birds, mammals.
- WOAH head said that vaccinating birds helps to control the virus.
- Countries have shown reluctance to adopt bird vaccines.
- The vaccine should focus on free range birds – WOAH boss
Paris, May 21, 2010 (AFP) – Governments should consider protecting birds from bird flu to prevent the virus – which has already killed hundreds of millions of birds and infected mammals worldwide – turning into a new pandemic, the head of the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) said. .
The severity of the current avian influenza, commonly known as bird flu, and the resulting economic and personal damage to governments Rethink poultry vaccination. However, some, like the US, are still reluctant because of the trade restrictions this entails.
“We are coming out of the Covid crisis where every country understands that the epidemic hypothesis is real,” WOAH Executive Director Monique Eloit told Reuters in an interview.
“Almost all countries that do international trade are now infected with the virus, so maybe it’s time to discuss vaccination in addition to systematic killing,” she said.
WOAH is holding a five-day general meeting starting Sunday, and the focus is on highly pathogenic avian influenza, or HPAI.
A WOAH study shows that 25% of member countries receive HPAI-vaccinated poultry imports.
The EU’s 27 member states agreed last year to implement a bird flu vaccine strategy. France It’s set to be the first since ducklings in the fall.
“If a big exporter like the EU starts moving in that direction, it will have a ripple effect,” Eloit said.
“To ensure that no stone is left unturned in the battle against HPAI, USDA continues to strengthen vaccine options that can protect chickens from this persistent threat,” the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) told Reuters on Friday.
However, he still considers biosecurity measures the most effective tool to prevent the virus in commercial herds, he said in emailed responses.
The risk of bird flu to humans is low, but countries must prepare for any change in the current situation World Health Organization He said.
Eloit said that because bird flu is transmitted by wild birds that migrate, the vaccine should focus on free-range animals, especially ducks. Vaccinating chickens, which account for 60% of the world’s poultry production, would not make sense, she said.
In the current HPAI outbreak, the H5N1 strain has been found in many mammals and has killed thousands, including sea lions, foxes, otters and cats.
Reporting by Sybil de la Hamide; Editing by Hugh Lawson
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