When talking about Latin America, the avian influenza (AI) virus has become almost ubiquitous: Mexico, Colombia and now Peru. Brazil is in warning mode. The fierce virus seems unstoppable, and the poultry industry needs to continue to work on biosecurity and maybe push to make vaccination part of a regular routine.

Just a few days ago, Colombian animal health authorities were publicly asking during the Fenavi’s National Poultry Congress not to vaccinate against AI. They highlighted the fact that outbreaks have been well solved, and that even though vaccines are being used in other countries, vaccines are not allowed in Colombia.

The situation in Mexico is different. The AI waves in the poultry industry have been devastating, and vaccination has helped to control outbreaks and major impacts on production.

In the last few days, outbreaks have been detected in nine states in Mexico. At least four of these were in commercial operations. So, in addition to sacrificing almost half a million birds, representing only 0.023% of the domestic poultry population, biosecurity and quarantine measures are being enforced.

Additionally, “strategic vaccination” against H5N1 is being requested to be done with three different vaccines domestically manufactured. Authorities have requested vaccine companies not to export all vaccines and use part of them at home.

Vaccination is not an easy measure to take, but when it comes to national food security, things change. A total of 63% of animal protein consumption in the country comes from poultry.

Just a couple of months ago I blogged about the fact that modernization of AI regulations is needed. The former CEO of the Mexican National Poultry Producers Association called for that during a discussion panel. So here I go again to what I said back in September – eradication seems almost impossible to achieve. Both the industry and authorities need to define what to do with the disease – live with it or eradicate it.

I am done saying that it is time to make decisions and asking again if vaccination with strong biosecurity is the way to go or not.

What do you think?