Mexican authorities say they’ve slaughtered more than a million chickens infected with bird flu. The government is taking no chances that the disease can spread into the poultry that it’s selling around the world.
The virus was detected in 18 farms in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato. And, according to investigators said Mexico’s Agriculture Ministry, the country is doing all that it can to stop the spread of this deadly virus.
The authorities said that the chickens were infected with the H7N3 virus but that it does not pose a threat to humans. The Agriculture Ministry said earlier this month, “This virus is exclusive to birds, so there is no risk for public safety.”
Different figures were given by the authorities as to how many of the infected birds had to be slaughtered.
Agriculture Minister Enrique Martinez said Monday that more than 2.1 million chickens had been killed — including 519,000 egg-producing chickens, 722,265 breeding chickens and 900,000 chickens raised for meat. The losses are massive for a country that is not in the strongest economic conditions, but the moves were necessary to protect their vital industry.
But on Tuesday, Javier Usabiaga Arroyo, a state agriculture official, said the total number of infected chickens killed was about 1.2 million, Mexico’s state-run Notimex news agency reported.
According to a statement issued by the Agriculture Ministry earlier this week, since the outbreak began earlier this month, officials have vaccinated over 1.9 million birds.
Authorities said on Monday that the number of slaughtered chickens is a small fraction of the country’s overall population of birds and there is no need to worry that the price for eggs or chickens are to increase. This was to stem a growing concern about a possible spike in food prices.
Mexico’s food safety agency said in a statement that, “The outbreak of avian influenza is controlled.”
Other strains of bird flu have spread to humans and prompted authorities to slaughter animals.
In 1997, authorities in Hong Kong killed about 1.5 million chickens after H5N1 avian influenza passed from birds to humans. It spread through live-poultry markets in May 1997, killing 6 of 18 infected people there.
The virus The Asian H5N1 virus was first detected in Guangdong Province, China, in 1996, when it killed some geese, but it received little attention.
Last year a new strain of H3N8 flu jumped from birds to mammals and was responsible for the deaths of more than 160 seals off the New England coast.