Brazil Declares Six-Month Animal Health Emergency After Avian Flu Cases Discovered
In response to the detection of several cases of avian flu in wild birds, Brazil has declared a six-month animal health emergency. The affected cases have been reported in Espirito Santo and Rio de Janeiro states.
By declaring an emergency, the government gains enhanced authority to implement measures aimed at preventing the highly contagious H5N1 virus from spreading further.
Brazil, as the world’s largest exporter of chicken meat with annual sales of nearly $10 billion (£8 billion), recognizes the importance of curbing the virus’s transmission to safeguard its poultry industry.
While the reported cases were found far from Brazil’s main production regions in the south, previous incidents have shown that outbreaks in commercial flocks can occur following avian flu discoveries in wild birds.
Upon confirming an outbreak on a farm, significant bird culling often takes place, and trade restrictions from other countries may be imposed.
As a precautionary measure, the animal health emergency has been declared nationwide for the next 180 days.
The ongoing global bird flu outbreak, which began in October 2021, has been particularly severe, resulting in unprecedented fatalities among wild birds. Some cases of transmission to mammals have also been observed.
The reasons behind the current outbreak’s heightened severity remain unclear, but the World Organisation for Animal Health (W.O.A.H.) has reported devastating impacts on animal health and welfare.
Monitoring the potential mutation of the H5N1 virus into a form capable of human-to-human transmission is a priority for the World Health Organization (WHO).
Presently, human cases are attributed to close contact with infected birds. Continued vigilance is necessary to manage any further spread of the virus.