Stockpiling AI Vaccine
This year's avian influenza outbreak caught officials off guard. Twenty-one states including Washington saw massive numbers of chickens and turkeys fall prey either dying or being culled.
USDA officials told congress they will stockpile commercial vaccine to combat avian flu that could return this fall. APHIS deputy administrator for veterinary services John Clifford.
CLIFFORD: We will have vaccine availability in our stockpile for the migration period. There are several companies actually besides the research that they're doing, they're several companies that have vaccines that they're prepared to have available.
But some lawmakers questioned how effective those vaccines will be, while research is continuing. Clifford suggested they would be the most effective to date. But he stressed other precautions, especially on-farm biosecurity, monitoring of wild birds that spread disease, and the need to cull livestock as quickly and humanely as possible.
CLIFFORD: It's important to get that done within 24 hours. If we don't and if we continue to have more birds dying from the virus then there's more virus in the environment and more spread, and we know this to be a fact.
Clifford says planning is underway for a worst case scenario in the fall, and even though he doesn't expect it, he says USDA will be ready, as the nation recovers from its worst animal health emergency in history.
And that's Washington Ag Today. I'm Greg Martin, thanks for listening on the Ag Information Network of the West.