HC Deb 18 May 2004 vol 421 c825W
Mr. Watson

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions her Department has had with Asian countries in order to ensure that surveillance of the vaccination programme to combat the bird influenza outbreak in chickens is rigorous enough to spot the evolution of new strains of the virus. [165261]

Mr. Bradshaw

We have had no direct contact on this issue. Our key protection against the disease is to control or ban imports. That operates regardless of the strain. We have received reports on the outbreak through the OIE and from EU representatives in south east Asia and have acted immediately to ban imports from wherever the disease has occurred.

Thailand is the only country in the region from which imports of poultry products were permitted prior to the outbreak of avian influenza. Imports of poultry products which could transmit the virus have been stopped and will be allowed to resume only once it is clear that the disease has been eradicated. Thailand has reported that it has not used vaccination in its efforts to eradicate the disease.

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