The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) will revise its guidelines to increase support of poultry vaccination in order to contain the spread of bird flu, according to a statement issued on 28 July. Until now, the FAO has recommended vaccination policies "where appropriate and practical".
Poultry populations that will be targeted for vaccination include hens that lay eggs for human consumption and young birds needed to replenish stocks devastated by bird flu. But the chief of the FAO animal health service has acknowledged concerns about the cost of the programme and the difficulty of enforcing it in remote areas.
Some also fear that vaccination policies could allow apparently healthy chickens to spread bird flu unnoticed. Several Asian nations, including Thailand, have banned the use of poultry vaccines. Indonesia, on the other hand, has already vaccinated 21 million birds.