The highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus is widespread among domestic ducks throughout Southeast Asia. Many aspects of the poultry industry and social habits hinder the containment and eradication of AI. Vaccination is often put forward as a tool for the control of AI. However, vaccination will only lead to eradication when it reduces the virus spread to such an extent that herd immunity is obtained. To study the effect of a single vaccination dose on the transmission of H5N1 in domestic ducks we performed experiments in which infected and uninfected ducks were housed together and the infection chain was monitored by means of virus isolation and serology. Specifically, Peking ducks were vaccinated with A/Chicken/Mexico/232/94/CPA H5N2 and challenged with A/Chicken/GxLA/1204/04 H5N1 one week after vaccination. In both the control and vaccinated groups all inoculated and contact animals were quickly infected. However, the disease signs and mortality differed between the control and treatment groups. This finding may have important implications for the control of H5N1 by means of vaccination.
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