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UK orders bird flu vaccines

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in the UK has ordered 10 million doses of vaccine to protect poultry against bird flu.

Five million doses have already been manufactured at Intervet's production facility in Spain and are expected to arrive in the UK within the next three weeks. The vaccine can be used against both the H5 and H7 strains of the virus, in poultry and other captive birds.
Defra says the UK's policy on vaccination remains unchanged. In a statement, it said: “Due to uncertainties in the future nature and spread of the virus, this supply is part of sensible contingency planning. Defra would not use currently available vaccines in advance of an outbreak or as an immediate disease control response. Early reporting, rapid action, bio-security, culling and surveillance remain the most effective methods of protecting against and controlling an avian influenza outbreak.”
Intervet announced earlier this month that the European Union had granted it a license for its avian flu vaccine.
According to the World Health Organisation, bird flu has killed 48 people since 2003, mostly in Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and China. About 200 million birds have died or been culled.
Britain has seen just one case of the virus, in a dead swan found at Cellardyke in Scotland in April. There are fears, however, that it could be brought to Britain by the autumn migration of water birds.
Earlier this year, the ministry ordered 2.3 million doses of vaccine for possible preventive vaccination of zoo birds.

Editor WorldPoultry

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