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Avian Influenza Vaccination Suggested for the EU


Given extensive outbreaks of avian influenza in the E.U., the Administer of Agriculture for France, Julien Denormandie is encouraging all 27 member states to adopt vaccination as a preventive and control measure.  France in particular has experienced a number of devastating epornitics especially in regions producing foie gras requiring pasture management of large flocks of waterfowl that are susceptible to H5 and H7 virus carried by migratory birds.


Stamping out has proven to be expensive and unsuccessful given the seasonal introduction of virus by migratory waterfowl.  The secondary consideration is the possibility of a mutation of H5 or H7 influenza viruses to become pathogenic to humans.  Although the specific case of human H5N1 reported in the U.K. is regarded as a possible warning, the circumstances of the infection of the patient were highly specific in that he had more than twenty ducks in his home and fed feral ducks in his village.


In a Monday, January 17th press conference, Minister Denormandie stated, "for the past year and a half we have worked incredibly hard with all sectors and yet the virus continues to spread".  He added, "so it is in a very lucid way that I say while we have been invested enormously on biosecurity measures that tomorrow we need to be able to fight this virus with the help of a vaccine".


It is understood that veterinary authorities in France have initiated pre-emptive slaughter of as many as a million commercial waterfowl in an attempt to control HPAI in the southwest Departments affected in past years.