The European Food Safety Authority has recommended using vaccinations as part of a campaign to eradicate bird flu, should there be an outbreak in European Union poultry flocks.

In detailed guidelines, it says that vaccination for avian influenza viruses of the virulent H5 and H7 subtypes sweeping Asia “was not considered until recent times, and has only had a relatively limited use in the field”.

However, “given the animal and public health threat, vaccination should be used as a tool to support eradication”, although only in conjunction with biosecurity measures, such as keeping livestock away from wild birds, which may carry the disease.