Brazil has declared a state of animal health emergency lasting 180 days due to the detection of the highly pathogenic bird flu virus in wild birds. The declaration was announced on Monday by Agriculture Minister Carlos Favaro, who fears trade restrictions if the virus reaches animal factories.
An outbreak on a farm would lead to the destruction of entire bird flocks and provoke trade limitations from importing nations. This would be an economic concern for Brazil, as it is the world’s largest chicken meat exporter, with $9.7 billion in sales last year.
The country has so far confirmed eight cases of the H5N1 avian flu in wild birds, including seven in Espirito Santo state and one in Rio de Janeiro state. As a response, the agriculture ministry has established an emergency operations center to coordinate, plan, and evaluate national actions related to bird flu.
In other countries, avian flu cases in wild birds led to transmissions to commercial flocks.
The Health Ministry confirmed over the weekend that samples from 33 suspected human cases of avian influenza in Espirito Santo tested negative for the H5N1 subtype.