China will begin vaccinating poultry next month against the H7N9 avian influenza virus which has claimed hundreds of lives and caused major damage to the nation’s poultry industry. Reuters says the program will kick off in early July and targets all species including broiler chickens, ducks, geese and laying hens. The managing director of the China Poultry Association says “in the near-term, it’s a good thing” but adds that “In the long run, vaccination does not help the eradication of the disease.” H7N9 first emerged in China in 2013, but human cases increased last winter, claiming at least 268 lives since October, and mostly during the first few months of this year. While the virus initially had little impact on birds, the high number of human cases led authorities to shut down live poultry markets around the country, hitting demand for eggs and the native yellow-feather chickens, commonly sold in such marketplaces.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service.