The OIE recommends eradication of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) at its poultry source to decrease the virus load in susceptible avian species and environment and there with to decrease the risk of human infection with those avian influenza (AI) viruses that have zoonotic potential, to secure the production sector and trade, as well as to safeguard food security and the livelihoods of farmers in developing countries.
The control of HPAI has become a more complex issue than in the past. The unprecedented and almost worldwide spread of HPAI infections, and the related serious animal and human health implications have increased the need to develop control strategies complementary to a stamping out policy, which has traditionally been used to eradicate this disease.
Since the emergence of the HPAI strain of H5N1 in South East Asia and its westward spread, the prevention and control methods are under scrutiny in many parts of the world. Control measures are currently based on eradication of infected flocks, but increasingly more countries supplement these measures by the use of vaccination. As new scientific developments and vaccination data become available, vaccination is moving more and more to the forefront as a tool to control and prevent the propagation of the disease.