Brazil declares animal health emergency in the country for 180 days

May, 23, 2023 Posted by Gabriel Malheiros

Week 202324

The Ministry of Agriculture has declared a state of zoosanitary emergency in the country for a period of 180 days following the detection of eight cases of highly pathogenic avian flu in wild birds this month. Minister of Agriculture Carlos Fávaro signed the ordinance establishing these measures on May 22.

Although the decision was leaked on Monday afternoon, it was officially published in the Official Gazette (DOU) only last night.

In response to the leak, the Brazilian Animal Protein  Association (ABPA) released a note stating that the measure was planned and extensively discussed between the government and the productive sector. The statement mentioned this is a preemptive measure aimed at expediting responses by integrating the ministry with state bodies and allocating resources.

According to the ABPA, the declaration of a zoosanitary emergency in the country further emphasizes the transparency of the Brazilian government in monitoring and combating the disease within the national territory. The association also noted that the cases of avian flu in wild birds do not impact Brazil’s disease-free status as recognized by the World Organization for Animal Health (WHO).

To date, Brazil has reported eight cases of H5N1 in wild birds, with seven cases in Espírito Santo and one in Rio de Janeiro. The most recent cases were identified over the weekend and yesterday.

In Espírito Santo, a royal tern (Thalasseus Maximus) was diagnosed over the weekend, and yesterday, a Cabot’s tern (Thalasseus acuflavidus) was found to be infected. In Rio de Janeiro, a bird of the same species was diagnosed over the weekend.

The norm signed by Minister Carlos Fávaro also extends indefinitely Ordinance 572, issued on March 29, 2023, which prohibits bird gatherings and outdoor rearing without screened enclosures. These were the initial preventive measures implemented by the government to prevent the introduction of the virus into the country.

The government is also intensifying negotiations with major chicken meat importers to review the health requirements imposed on Brazil in case the avian influenza virus is detected in commercial farms in the country.

The Ministry of Agriculture aims to prevent complete restrictions on poultry protein exports and to regionalize sales in case of outbreaks in specific areas. The productive sector considers a total sales embargo unlikely, given the significance of Brazil in the global market. Additionally, they argue that countries with previous cases of the disease in commercial herds were not subjected to embargoes.

This matter is being discussed at the 90th meeting of the World Organization for Animal Health (WHO) in Paris, France, this week. The meeting is also addressing the possibility of bird vaccination against the disease. Brazil, however, is against implementing such vaccination measures.

The ABPA expressed its support for studies on avian flu vaccination, aligning with the positions advocated by the International Poultry Council (IPC) and the International Egg Council (IEC). Furthermore, the association stated that, although vaccination is not currently required for its own production—since Brazil’s strategy is focused on monitoring and eradicating potential outbreaks—the Brazilian productive sector advocates against trade barriers for nations that choose to implement vaccination measures.

Source: Valor Econômico

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