Skip to main content

Avian Flu

Volume 685: debated on Monday 9 October 2006

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What was the total cost of the avian influenza outbreak in Norfolk; and how much of this was attributed to (a) clearing, and (b) cleaning.[HL7243]

The total cost of tackling the avian influenza outbreak in Norfolk was £1,181,458. This figure is subject to amendment as more data become available. £36,028 of the total cost is attributed to clearing (including incineration, rendering, transport of carcasses, landfill and destruction of clinical waste). £9,794 of the total cost is attributed to cleaning (including primary cleaning and disinfection).

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will permit precautionary vaccination of rare breeds of poultry against avian influenza, in order to maintain the gene pool.[HL7245]

Although current avian influenza vaccines are able to reduce mortality, it is possible that some vaccinated birds would still be capable of becoming infected and transmitting avian influenza without displaying symptoms of the disease. This could increase the time taken to detect and eradicate the virus.

For this reason, the Chief Veterinary Officer’s advice remains that we should not vaccinate poultry in advance of an avian influenza outbreak or as an immediate disease control response. High standards of biosecurity, separation of poultry from wild birds and careful surveillance for signs of disease are the most effective means of protection. However, we continue to keep our policy under close review in the light of scientific developments.

In view of current uncertainties in the nature and spread of the virus, we are securing access to a supply of 10 million doses of vaccine and we are developing a vaccination delivery plan with stakeholders as part of our contingency planning.