Brazil’s agriculture ministry has extended a national health emergency for another 180 days due to more detections of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) virus in wild birds, according to a statement on Tuesday.
The highly infections virus has not yet reached commercial flocks, meaning Brazil’s status as an avian influenza-free country before the World Organization for Animal Health remains, the statement added.
Outbreaks in commercial flocks, which have happened in major chicken producers like the United States, could trigger export bans.
Japan temporarily banned Brazilian chicken products coming from Espirito Santo state in late June and from Santa Catarina, Brazil’s second largest producer and exporter of chicken, in mid-July.
“The fight against bird flu is an issue that deserves everyone’s attention, as the spread of the disease can impact different sectors of the country,” Agriculture Ministry Carlos Favaro was quoted as saying in the statement. “The extension will give us more security to face this crisis without major risks.”
Brazil, the world’s top chicken exporter and home to giant meatpackers including BRF and JBS, for the first time confirmed HPAI cases in wild birds on May 15.
Brazil’s first health emergency was decreed a week later in a bid to prevent the disease from reaching subsistence and commercial poultry production, as well as to preserve the country’s fauna and human health, the statement said.
The ministry said that to date Brazil has 139 confirmed outbreaks of the disease, including in wild birds, subsistence poultry and mammals.