The European Food Safety Authority has issued a new scientific opinion to guide European Union Member States on highly pathogenic avian influenza strategy development.
Preventive vaccination against highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) is the optimal strategy to minimize the number of HPAI outbreaks and the duration of epidemics and should be carried out in the most susceptible poultry species in high-risk transmission areas, according to the latest scientific opinion from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
The recommendation is part of new scientific advice on HPAI vaccines and vaccination strategies for policy makers and risk managers in the European Union (E.U.)’s Member States to enable informed decision taking on HPAI prevention and outbreak control.
The advice may be used to guide the future development of HPAI vaccines and their use.
For policy makers and risk managers, EFSA says:
- Preventive vaccination is the optimal vaccination strategy to minimize the number of outbreaks and epidemic duration and should be conducted in the most susceptible and infectious poultry species in high-risk transmission areas. Multiple administration (i.e. booster vaccinations) can be used to enhance protection;
- In case of an outbreak, emergency protective vaccination is recommended within a 3-km radius of the outbreak in high-risk transmission areas;
- Vaccine efficacy should be monitored for all vaccination strategies; and
- Vaccination should complement, not replace, other preventive and control measures, such as infection monitoring in birds, early detection, and biosecurity, and is recommended as part of an integrated disease control approach.
Where the research community is concerned, EFSA’s opinion included scientific recommendations for future HPAI vaccine scientific studies in terms of the vaccine types to develop and for which species, the aspects of the vaccines that should be researched and the type of studies that should be conducted.