Million chickens killed in Chile after bird flu outbreak

Chile kills 40,000 chickens after bird flu outbreak
A tractor carries dead chickens to dump them in a ditch, Rancagua, Chile, March 15, 2023, credit: Reuters/Ivan Alvarado

Chile is facing a bird flu outbreak that has led to the killing of around one million chickens. When bird flu is detected at a farm, all animals around the infected animal are killed. Their bodies are then either burned or buried.

The H5N1 strain of bird flu has been reported in the country since late last year, initially in wild animals before spreading to industrial chicken farms. The Chilean government has stopped chicken meat exports due to the outbreak.

Of the infected and killed animals, 700,000 were chickens used for the egg industry, Esteban Valenzuela, the minister of Agriculture, said, which resulted in a 35% increase in egg prices.

The virus can be transmitted from birds or marine mammals to humans; so far, no known human-to-human transmission has been reported.

“I’m consuming fewer eggs, so we’re seeing what’s going to happen with all that. Also, less of the meat from the chickens. I don’t know what that is going to be like. I have also avoided buying it because it scares me, I have grandchildren, and it’s terrible if something happens to you,” professor Judith Vargas, who was asked about her egg and chicken consumption at a market, said.

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