Brazil declares an emergency for animal health due to bird flu infections

Brazil declares an emergency for animal health due to bird flu infections.The South American country confirmed eight cases of H5N1 in wild birds in two states, leading to the declaration of a 180-day emergency.

According to a declaration signed by the government’s agriculture minister, Brazil has declared an animal health emergency for six months after authorities discovered the country’s first-ever incidence of the avian influenza virus in wild birds.

With $9.7 billion in sales last year, the South American nation, which is the largest producer of chicken meat in the world, has confirmed at least eight cases of the H5N1 virus in wild birds, including one in the state of Rio de Janeiro and seven in the neighbouring state of Espirito Santo.

According to the World Organisation for Animal Health’s regulations, wild bird infections with the H5N1 subtype of avian influenza do not result in trade restrictions.

However, a farm with avian flu typically has to destroy the entire flock and may face trade restrictions from importing nations.
Later on Monday, the nation’s agriculture ministry announced the establishment of an emergency operations centre to coordinate, plan, and assess “national avian influenza actions.”

The government is on high alert following the confirmed cases, even though Brazil’s primary meat-producing states are in the south. In several countries, avian flu in wild birds has been followed by transmission to commercial flocks.

Prior to the government statement, shares of BRF SA, the largest exporter of chicken in the world, were up 3.6 percent; they finished the day down 0.5 percent.

In Espirito Santo, where Brazil verified the first cases in wild birds last week, the Health Ministry reported over the weekend that samples from 33 suspected human cases of avian influenza had tested negative for the H5N1 variant.

Five cases of human avian flu were detected last year. However, the World Health Organisation reports that fatality rates for H5N1 avian influenza cases in humans have been as high as 53% in the past.

The first human death from that strain of bird flu was reported in April, according to the WHO, when a 56-year-old lady in southern China passed away after testing positive for the avian influenza subtype H3N8.

Compared to H5N1, the H3N8 virus is thought to be less hazardous for both domestic and wild birds. It has been known to circulate since 2002.

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