Brazil, the world’s largest chicken exporter, has declared a nationwide “animal health emergency” after confirming eight cases of avian flu in wild birds, authorities said.
The 180-day measure was announced Monday night by the agriculture ministry. It said in a statement it aimed to “prevent (the virus) from spreading to domesticated birds and commercial poultry operations, as well as protect animals and human health.”
The measure comes after authorities confirmed three new bird flu cases Monday, bringing the total to eight since the disease was first detected in the country two weeks ago.
All the cases have been in wild birds.
One was reported in the state of Rio de Janeiro, and seven in neighboring Espirito Santo, both in Brazil’s southeast.
The measure extends an already-enacted suspension on expos and fairs involving birds.
Agriculture Minister Carlos Favaro said it would also “mobilize resources” to take preventive measures to contain the virus.
Brazil, the world’s biggest chicken exporter last year, supplies around 35 percent of all poultry on the international market.
The current bird flu outbreak began in Canada in 2021, then spread to the United States and Latin America.
There is no treatment for the disease, which is often deadly in both wild and domesticated birds.
Avian influenza viruses do not typically infect humans, although there have been rare cases.
Industry group ABPA said the cases would not affect Brazil’s exports, given that no infections have been registered in commercial operations.