A targeted vaccination campaign for poultry at risk of being infected with bird flu may be required in the worse hit countries to control the further spread of the virus, according to global animal and human health experts gathered for emergency talks at the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

After two days of discussions, the group of experts, including representatives from the World Animal Health Organisation (OIE) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), said vaccinating animals could be one method, along with culling and other priority measures, to contain the spread of the virus.

“Culling infected flocks remains the recommended response when the disease is detected,” said Joseph Domenech, chief of FAO’s Animal Health Service.

“Vaccination, when used together with other control measures, such as market and movement management, and good agricultural practices, offers a suitable means to support the suppression of the further spread of the virus,” Domenech added.

Bernard Vallat, director general of the OIE said these measures would also help to rebuild the damaged export markets in the region.

The FAO said this week that 50 million chickens had so far been culled as a result of the bird flu crisis in Asia. Meanwhile, the number of humans that have died from the disease has risen to 18.