Brazil Issues Flu Health Alert, Urging Poultry Keepers to Protect Birds

BRAZIL - The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply (MAPA) issued a health alert on Friday to intensify defence efforts to prevent the spread of bird flu in the country.
calendar icon 13 December 2016
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This is not the first time the department has issued this type of alert because the disease is a permanent threat in the world. Because it is free from bird flu, MAPA says Brazil needs to redouble its efforts to protect the health of its poultry sector. The disease has been widespread in Europe, Asia and the Middle East in the past few weeks.

According to the director of the Department of Animal Health at MAPA, Guilherme Marques, the poultry sectors should apply stricter biosecurity measures: "Our greatest concern is the migratory birds that come to the country to escape the winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Commercial production already has very strict sanitary controls.

"All the members of the productive chain must be aware of the risk and prepared to face it. Any high bird mortality must be immediately reported to the official veterinary service so that veterinarians can be on the property within 12 hours to start the investigation," said Guilherme Marques.

According to him, Brazil has been doing continuous work to prevent bird flu, some strains of which also pose a risk to human health.

With this latest alert, access to farms (people, animals and vehicles) will become more restricted. In addition, the training of veterinary teams will be intensified. MAPA has also purchased materials and equipment for emergencies and reviewed plans to contain the disease.

The Brazilian territory has 20 (local) sites to monitor the entry of migratory birds, with active surveillance for avian influenza and Newcastle disease in domestic birds that live around 10 km from these sites. In these places there is also passive surveillance for migratory and wild birds.

At least 197 bird species can migrate. Of this total, 53 per cent (104 species) reproduce in Brazil and 47 per cent (93 species) have breeding sites in other countries. Migrating birds are thought to be a major factor in the spread of avian flu.

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