Brazil Declares Bird Flu Emergency
According to VOA News, Brazil recently declared a state of animal health emergency for the next 180 days in response to the country's first detection of the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HAPI) in wild birds.
Brazil's agriculture ministry said on May 22, 2023, it has created an emergency operations center to coordinate, plan and evaluate "national actions related to avian influenza."
Avian influenza A (H5N1) was first detected in the Americas in December 2014, and since January 2022, over 58 million birds in 47 states have been culled following HAPI detections in the U.S.
As of May 18, 2023, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) reported H5N1 viruses (clade 18.104.22.168b) had been detected in birds in 16 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, the U.S., and Canada.
The identified outbreaks are mainly located in areas of the Pacific flyway, says the PAHO.
While infection by HAPI in wild birds does not trigger trade bans, based on guidelines of the World Organization for Animal Health, a case of bird flu on a farm usually results in the entire flock being culled.
On May 22, 2023, Brazil's Agriculture Minister Carlos Favaro confirmed a significant economic risk to the HAPI outbreak.
Brazil is one of the world's biggest chicken meat exporters, with $9.7 billion in sales in 2022.
Though Brazil's central meat-producing states are in the southern area, the government is on alert after the recent HAPI detections.
The World Organization for Animal Health confirmed on May 15, 2023, two terns were found infected with H5N1 on Brazil's coast of Espirito Santo state.
Should a cross-over pandemic occur, the U.S. government has approved one vaccine for HAPI that protects people from infection and severe disease and is actively supporting other bird flu vaccine candidates.
However, the U.S. CDC says the annual flu shots were not designed to protect people against avian influenza infections.