US to stockpile avian influenza vaccine as precaution

US to stockpile avian influenza vaccine as precaution

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA/APHIS) has announced the decision to stockpile several hundred million doses of avian influenza (AI) vaccine.

The decision follows the destruction of nearly 50 million domestic poultry birds already this year, as a result of the worst epizootic (large local outbreak) of highly pathogenic AI (HPAI) ever in the US, with outbreaks occurring across 15 states.

There are now fears AI could reappear this autumn, with the recent changes in the avian influenza virus presenting an increased infection risk to beyond the US.

iStock_syringe+000018915744Dr Yannick Gardin, director of Science and Innovation at Ceva and avian influenza expert explained: “The changeable nature of the AI virus means that it is now able to survive for long periods of time in wildfowl (migratory birds). These birds are moving rapidly over huge distances and constantly mixing with other birds, which means that epizootics of unpredictable importance can now erupt in many areas across the globe, and no longer stay exclusively locally endemic.

“Preventative health strategies, such as vaccination programmes and biosecurity, should be implemented to take account of this” Gardin added.

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