Argentina’s National Healthcare and Agrifood Quality Service, SENASA, has confirmed new cases of bird flu in Salta and Córdoba provinces. Since cases have been reported across the border in Uruguay, the institution is also strengthening epidemiological controls in Entre Rios province.
The cases in Córdoba and Salta were in chickens and turkeys raised on small farms. As part of an effort to stop the spread of the disease, sanitary tests are being conducted in the surrounding areas.
Last week, the first bird flu case was reported in Jujuy, near the border with Bolivia, prompting SENASA to declare a nationwide sanitary emergency.
Javier Prida, president of the Argentine Chamber of Poultry Producers and Processors (CAPIA), said the arrival of the virus was “very bad news” because of the mortality rates it can entail in poultry flocks, as well as the resultant drops in production. Producers often lose around 50% of their birds during flu outbreaks, according to a CAPIA statement.
In spite of the risks, CAPIA said they are working jointly with government authorities to prevent cases from spreading even more.
In a press conference last Wednesday, Health Ministry officials said that the illness is not transmitted through the consumption of poultry and that there is no risk for those who eat it as long as it is properly cooked.
Bird flu, also known as avian influenza, is a contagious disease caused by a virus that affects birds. It is considered an exotic disease in Argentina because no cases had been detected in the country until now. Water birds are the most vulnerable.
The spread of new cases across the region has raised alarms in Latin American countries. So far, cases have been confirmed in Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Uruguay and Argentina. Last year’s outbreak of the virus in the United States killed more than 58 million birds, although just one person was infected nationwide.