May 16, 2023
Brazil confirms first cases of bird flu among wild birds
Brazil, the world's leading chicken exporter, has officially reported its first cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), according to an announcement made by the country's Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Food Supply, Yahoo! News reported.
The Brazilian government said the detected cases were found in wild birds and do not warrant a ban on imports of Brazilian poultry products, in accordance with guidelines set by the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH).
Despite a global outbreak of the virus, Brazil, which saw its chicken exports increase by 27% to US$9.76 billion last year, had not encountered a confirmed case until now.
The Brazilian government confirmed the presence of the H5N1 subtype of the avian influenza virus in two migrating birds off the coast of Espirito Santo, a southeastern state in Brazil. However, as the cases were detected in wild animals, Brazil's status as a "country free of HPAI" remains unaffected, according to the agriculture ministry.
Miguel Gularte, CEO of BRF, the largest chicken exporting company in the world based in Brazil, said he was not surprised about the highly pathogenic avian influenza cases. He assured that the company is prepared for any scenario and reiterated WOAH's recommendation against imposing import bans due to cases detected in wild animals.
Gularte emphasized BRF's reliance on Brazil's robust animal health services to prevent and contain any potential threats to industrial poultry farms.
China, Japan, South Africa, and Saudi Arabia were among Brazil's major importers of chicken products in April. In contrast, China has imposed import restrictions on poultry from nearly 40 US states due to bird flu outbreaks on commercial poultry farms.
Argentina, Brazil's neighbouring country, temporarily suspended its poultry exports in late February following the detection of bird flu in its poultry industry in the province of Rio Negro. However, exports from bird flu-free areas resumed in late March.
- Yahoo! News