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Thailand for limited bird flu vaccine use

by 5m Editor
22 February 2005, at 12:00am

THAILAND - Thailand has announced that it will begin vaccinating millions of chickens and other fowl against bird flu within the next two months.

Thailand for limited bird flu vaccine use - THAILAND - Thailand has announced that it will begin vaccinating millions of chickens and other fowl against bird flu within the next two months.

A meeting chaired by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra confirmed that the vaccine would be administered under conditions stipulated by international health organisations, said deputy premier Jaturon Chaisang, who oversees the country's avian influenza fight.

"The meeting concluded that there will be use of bird flu vaccine in ducks, backyard chickens, fighting cocks, exotic birds, and birds in zoos -- but not in chicken for export," Jaturon told reporters Monday.

Thailand, the world's fourth largest exporter of chicken, had previously ruled out large scale vaccinations of birds because of fears it would hurt exports.

Thawat Suntrajarn, director general of the Department of Disease Control, assured that the vaccine use would be tightly controlled.

"We will do it based on theories to which both the WHO (World Health Organisation) and the OIE (World Animal Health Organisation) have agreed," he said.

Thailand in October announced plans to produce 100 million doses of bird flu vaccine for chickens if an outbreak that has now left at least 12 people dead in the kingdom ran out of control.

Thirty-three people have also died in Vietnam in two outbreaks of the H5N1 strain of bird flu virus since late 2003.

Jaturon said that recent tests of 400 ducks found that 39 percent of them carried the bird flu virus. He did not say where the ducks came from or if any new protective measures would be implemented.

He said a cull of some or all of the country's 10 million ducks was being considered.

A regional meeting to discuss the fight against the virus will begin in Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday, under the sponsorship of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation and the OIE.

A top UN official said Sunday the world needed to take both immediate and long-term measures to combat the disease.

Thailand has long considered the use of vaccine to eradicate the virus of bird flu, but could not make the final decision due to concerns voiced by major importers over vaccinated poultry products.

Reports of the disease have driven away Thailand's largest poultry importers including Japan and the European Union.

So far, two provinces in northern Thailand and one in central region are classified as bird flu-stricken areas, while another 28 provinces are on the watch list.

Source: eFeedLink - 22nd February 2005

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