French sanitary agency fine-tunes bird flu vaccination plan

Three scenarios set for launching the first scheme
calendar icon 6 April 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

French health and safety authorities on Thursday endorsed government plans to selectively vaccinate millions of poultry birds against avian influenza, setting out three scenarios for launching the first such scheme in the EU this autumn, reported Reuters.

The virus is spreading around the world and has killed hundreds of millions of birds, but governments have been reluctant to roll out vaccination programmes mainly because of the trade curbs these would entail.

France - the worst affected European Union state last year, when it culled more than 20 million birds - said in December it aimed to start vaccinations this autumn and tasked health and safety agency ANSES with presenting a range of strategies.

On Thursday, ANSES reported back with three scenarios, none of which involve vaccinating the broilers that account for the majority of France's poultry, considered at relatively low risk of catching the virus.

The most limited plan would involve vaccinating all breeding poultry birds, which would entail millions of doses.

A second option to be applied simultaneously or at a later stage, adds foie gras ducks, free-range turkeys and ducks and future free-range layer pullets; and a third all layer hens and web-footed poultry not already covered elsewhere.

The government tends to at least partly follow ANSES recommendations.

"In view of the particularly worrying epidemiological context... the agency stresses the importance of implementing the broadest possible vaccination strategy, provided the means are available," the agency advised.

France has mandated two companies, France's Ceva Animal Health and Germany's Boehringer Ingelheim to develop avian influenza vaccines for ducks. Ceva said initial results were "very promising", notably by sharply reducing the excretion of the virus by infected birds.

ANSES also stressed the capacity for the virus to jump across species barriers, posing a potential risk to human health.

Avian influenza is transmitted by infected faeces from migrating wild birds or direct contact with contaminated feed, clothing and equipment, or through the air.

© 2000 - 2024 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.