The recent Ceva Poultry Vaccinology Summit in Barcelona provided the first scientific evidence that vaccination in the hatchery with new technology vaccines can create a step change from disease protection to disease prevention, by minimizing the spread and thus the circulation of field viruses.

For more than 80 years, antibiotics have protected both the health of animals and humans. Protecting their future, through more targeted use has become one of the most pressing issues for governments, health authorities, veterinarians and poultry producers. “Antibiotic free” poultry production brings with it many challenges and potential welfare issues. As consumers demand healthier food, can this be delivered, while also ensuring that birds that fall sick are properly treated?

Poultry producers currently face many challenges to adjust their production systems. One of the most critical of the required changes is achieving better management of individual bird and flock health status. Since the emergence of the first very virulent respiratory diseases in poultry in the late 1950s, the global industry has fought a constant battle to protect flocks against disease through biosecurity and vaccination programs.

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Vaccination was considered to be effective if it prevented or reduced clinical symptoms in affected flocks. However, widespread use of new technology vaccines such as Transmune, Vectormune ND and Vectormune AI, which are associated with improved hatchery application, provide more than just disease protection, by reducing disease occurrence and the probability that birds will fall sick.

Dr. Sylvain Comte said: “On farm trials and associated work from scientists and poultry producers has shown that consistent, correct application of new technology vaccines allows producers to both control and reduce disease burden for present and future flocks. This reduces the risk of clinical or subclinical sickness and therefore the likelihood that birds will need to be treated with antibiotics.”

Ceva’s commitment to responsible antibiotic use is evidenced in programs that focus on protection as well as reduction of disease spreading. Dr. Comte continues, “This innovative approach aims to ensure that poultry farms are healthier and less exposed to bacterial infections, fulfilling the joint needs of the consumer and the poultry producers. Ceva will continue to contribute to improved bird health status and help the industry to face the new challenges of antibiotic free production.”