Three vaccines used to prevent respiratory disease in chickens have swapped genes, producing two lethal new strains that have killed tens of thousands of fowl across two states in Australia, scientists reported on Friday. The creation of the deadly new variant was only possible because the vaccines contained live viruses, even though they were weakened forms, said Joanne Devlin, lead author of the paper published in the journal Science....Of course, if these Australian scientists utilized the system presently used by the U.S. vaccine reporting system, their reports would show that twelve chickens had died for reasons that were inexplicable, but definitely had absolutely nothing to do with the vaccines they received the previous day.
The viruses emerged in 2008, a year after Australia started using a European vaccine along with two very similar Australian vaccines to fight acute respiratory disease in poultry. The illness causes coughing, sneezing and breathing difficulties in birds, normally killing 5 percent of them. The two new strains, however, were far more harmful, and since they were created have killed up to 17 percent of chicken flocks across Victoria and New South Wales, the two main chicken rearing states in Australia.