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Mystery Of Vaccinated Chickens
Dying Of Bird Flu

From Patricia Doyle, PhD
Hello, Jeff - I don't think it is a mystery at all. Bird Flu vaccine just isn't going to work. Hong Kong has a similar problem with the vaccine not being effective because the virus is changing. In Hong Kong, the virus was shifting away from the Fujian strain.
H5N1 is changing and mutating as it circles and re-circles the globe.
Now tell me how effective a pandemic version of bird flu vaccine would be at this stage of the game? Not very.
Date: Fri 18 Jul 2008 Source: THE NATION/ANN via Asia.One.Com [edited]
Chickens that are vaccinated against bird flu are supposed to be immune to the disease. But hundreds of chickens at a poultry farm in southern Viet Nam have died of avian influenza -- even though the farm owner had earlier reported that the birds were vaccinated against the disease, an official said yesterday [17 Jul 2008].
Since late last month [June 2008], several hundreds of the 3000 chickens in the flock have died at the farm in Tan Lan commune in Long An province, 50 km [31 miles] west of Ho Chi Minh City.
Last week, they were tested positive for the H5N1 avian-influenza virus, said Mr Dinh Van The, head of the province's Animal Health Department. The farm owner reported to the department that all birds in the farm had been vaccinated against bird flu, he said. "We suspect that he was not honest in his report, or that the vaccine used at the farm was of bad quality," he added. "We are investigating the case."
H5N1 affects mainly poultry and wild birds, but can infect humans who have close contact with sick fowl. Scientists fear that, if it spreads unchecked, the disease could mutate into a form that could be transmitted between humans, leading to a worldwide epidemic.
Bird flu has killed 5 people in Viet Nam since the beginning of this year.
-- communicated by: ProMED-mail
Viet Nam has opted for vaccination of poultry (including waterfowl) since 2005, with quite satisfactory results. However, it is known that vaccination cannot achieve disease eradication unless it is combined with effectively applied, severe biosecurity measures.
The outcome of the investigations of the current event, in particular the allegations that vaccinated birds have been clinically affected, is anticipated with concern and great interest. Subscribers are referred to David Swayne's review on poultry avian influenza vaccines in posting 20050307.0680.
The recent 15 outbreaks in Viet Nam have been reported to the OIE in follow-up report No 20, submitted 14 Jul 2008. Out of a total of 14 216 animals, 6841 were clinically affected ("cases") of which 6081 died. All remaining 8135 birds were destroyed. The report includes a map which demonstrates the dissemination of the disease in 9 provinces, namely Son La, Long An, Aghe An, Ha Tinh, Can Thio City, Quang Agai, Vinh Long, Tra Vinh and Kien Giang. It also includes the following statement: "The event is continuing. Weekly follow-up reports will be submitted," and is available at
In our posting 20080710.2106 of 10 Jul 2008, we referred to an OIE follow-up report of 4 Apr 2008 addressing HPAI H5N1 in Viet Nam, which included the statement that "the event is resolved. No more reports will be submitted." It should be clarified that the said report related to another, different epidemiological event in Viet Nam, namely an outbreak of HPAI H5N1 in civets ("reason for notification: change in epidemiology: New host"). The said event has indeed been resolved, while the epizootic in poultry (including waterfowl), which started on 19 Dec 2006 (with 20 follow-up reports so far), is continuing.
We are grateful to Dr Karim Ben Jebara, head of the Information Department, OIE, who kindly forwarded to us the said clarification. - Mod.AS
Patricia A. Doyle DVM, PhD 
Bus Admin, Tropical Agricultural Economics 
Univ of West Indies 
Please visit my "Emerging Diseases" message board at: 
Also my new website:
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