About 40,000 poultry were killed and buried in central Chile on Wednesday after the first case of bird flu was detected in an industrial setting in the country.
Carlos Orellana, head of livestock protection at Chile’s Farming and Livestock SAG agency, said it was a “limited incident” and that authorities had not detected more cases in the surrounding area.
“This is a very limited phenomenon, our surveillance in the peripheral area keeps giving us negative results,” Orellana said during a press conference in Santiago.
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“We are hopeful that this situation will be brought under control and that Chile will regain its status as free of highly pathogenic bird flu,” he added.
The outbreak was detected on Monday at a plant of meat producer Agrosuper in Rancagua in central Chile, prompting the government to suspend chicken exports for a period of 28 days.
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Cases of bird flu, mostly in wild animals, have been detected in Chile since late last year. Argentina confirmed its first case in industrial poultry last month, leading to suspension of avian product exports.
Brazil, the world’s biggest chicken exporter, is still free of bird flu but has investigated several suspected cases. South American health authorities formed a regional technical committee earlier this month to deal with the bird flu outbreak.
Chile’s health minister, Ximena Aguilera, said the country has seen cases from marine mammals but that human-to-human transmission has not occurred, but the ministry is closely tracking workers and people exposed to bird flu .
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