Dr. Andy

Reflections on medicine and biology among other things

Monday, November 21, 2005

Bad idea

This sounds like a really bad idea:

Bird vaccination campaigns involve a huge amount of labor because the animals must be injected one by one. China's Agriculture Ministry said last Tuesday that it would inject all of the nation's 5.2 billion chickens, geese and ducks with a vaccine.

While wildly impractical, the big problem is all those people tramping around from farm to farm to do the actual vaccinations could spread the disease:
Vaccination teams can easily carry the virus from farm to farm on their shoes, clothes and equipment unless they change or sterilize them each time, the experts said. That could be particularly difficult in a country like China, where the veterinary care system is underfinanced and millions of birds are kept in small flocks by families.
This would be problematic enough in, say, the US or Western Europe, but might be surmountable; in China it is almost certain to cause more harm than good.

Finally, unlike humans, birds turn over rapidly (turkeys particularly so at this time of year in the US), so this scheme will require multiple rounds of vaccination.


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