"Vaccinating hobby poultry dangerous" says Professor

by 5m Editor
10 November 2005, at 12:00a.m.

THE NETHERLANDS - Preventive vaccination of poultry kept as pets is unwise and may present a risk to humans, says veterinary epidemiologist Professor Mart de Jong. Nevertheless, the Dutch ministry of agriculture has announced that it wants to make vaccination of ‘hobby birds’ possible. De Jong, chair of Quantitative Veterinary Epidemiology and researcher at the Animal Sciences Group (ASG), fears that vaccination might make the virus go ‘underground’. Experiments performed by ASG and CIDC-Lelystad have indicated that vaccinated golden pheasants do not develop symptoms of avian influenza, but are capable of transmitting the virus. ‘Vaccination can therefore create a false sense of security,’ says De Jong. ‘The last thing we want is poultry that remains healthy but passes the virus on to humans.’ The ministry of agriculture therefore needs to think very carefully about preventive vaccination. According to De Jong there are too many species of birds that are kept by enthusiasts in the Netherlands to be able to predict what the effects of vaccination will be. ‘The research that has been done on golden pheasants and ringed teals makes it clear that the effects of vaccination of one kind of bird will not necessarily be the same for another type of bird.’ <i>Source:</i>

5m Editor