Over 70 cases of bird flu have been detected in the country

February 14 marked a before and after for the Argentine poultry sector, it was the day when a wild bird infected with the virus was detected for the first time. bird flu, a highly contagious and deadly disease for birds. Since then, the virus has spread nationwide, affecting backyard birds and infiltrating commercial farms, leading to culling of animals to contain the spread.

According to data from National Health and Food Quality Service (Senasa), to date 78 detections of the disease have been confirmed: the confirmed cases are 62 in backyard birds, 11 in the commercial sector and 5 correspond to wild birds. With regard to territorial distribution, the positive points were mainly in Cordobawith 19 cases; Buenos Aires18; Neuquenten; Santa Fe9; Black River6; chubut4; currents, San Luis there chaco, 2 each; And the pampas, Jujuy, Santiago del Estero, Salta there Formosa, one each. The attached map shows the distribution as of April 13, when 77 cases were recorded.

According to Senasa sources, the organization’s goal “is health, controlling disease. Out of 5,500 commercial farms, 11 have been affected by outbreaks, 78 in total, adding backyard and nature. In any case, “emergency plans” are followed, as in the barnyard and in nature. We understand that special interests may be affected, and for this we are working on assistance, but the objective in each case is that avian flu (AI) does not spread. On the other hand, the homes are closed as long as the corresponding protocols are respected ”.


Senasa reported that to date, 24 outbreaks have been closed, which occurred in Buenos Aires: Bahía Blanca (wild birds), Azul, Puán, San Cayetano, Tres Lomas, (barnyard birds); Cordoba: Las Mojarras (wild birds), Alejandro Roca, Alejo Ledesma, Baldisera, Carnerillo, Del Campillo, Graal Lavalle, Idiazabal Unión, Los Álvarez, San José, La Dormida and Villa del Rosario (farmyard birds); Jujuy: Pozuelos Lagoon (wild birds); Neuquen: Laguna Blanca (wild birds); Black River: Choele Choel (backyard); San Luis: Alto Pencoso (farmyard birds); Santa Fe: Centeno and Villa Cañás (backyard) and Salta: Cerrillos (farmyard birds)

As the health agency notes, only 11 of the 5,500 active commercial farms have reported positive cases, so although the timing of the industry is critical, the disease, a priori, has not affected a large number of people. establishments. The president of the Poultry Processing Enterprise Center (CEPA), Roberto Domenech, He said in this regard: “In the past ten days, there have been many more negative cases than positive cases. This gives the impression that, even if one is still very alert, the spread of the disease would be a little calmer”.

As detailed by Domenech, the most important case concerning the production of broilers occurred in a company Black River, where two outbreaks were detected and 600,000 specimens were slaughtered. Other significant cases have been recorded on livestock farms, where hens lay fertile eggs for hatching chicks. In this regard, there was a case in the city of Buenos Aires of General Alver, which gradually took over three establishments within one property, in which 40,000 animals were sacrificed. Further detections led to the culling of 25,000 breeding stock at a breeding facility. silver sea and 14,000 in a farm of HopeSanta Fe.

Agriculture Secretary Juan José Bahillo and officials from Senasa and the Ministry of Health on the day the first case of bird flu was reported
Agriculture Secretary Juan José Bahillo and officials from Senasa and the Ministry of Health on the day the first case of bird flu was reported

Although Domenech indicated that in the universe of chicken production in the country, slaughtered animals “are a tiny number, since 65 million chickens are slaughtered per month, having lost 1% of this total is less than the mortality weekly natural that the industry has, but for the company, this sacrificed amount represents 30% of its production, so it was a very heavy blow”.

The head of CEPA calls for “constantly monitoring the evolution, because we are at the beginning of the disease and we have a lot to do. The virus may disappear, but we are very concerned about the backyard, because we do not know not what this infection looks like, how it is recycled. Chile has had the disease twice and managed to get out of it. We have to see how the rest of the world behaves.

In reference to export, from which Argentina decided to exclude itself after detecting the disease in its territory, Domenech noted that the process of market recovery is “very slow, but predictable. It’s a permanent round trip. Some markets have recovered, while the most important for us have gone into consultation”. However, the volume of poultry meat shipped in March was significantly lower than in the same month last year, falling from 22,000 tonnes to less than a third, 7,200 tonnes.

For his part, the President of the Argentine Chamber of Poultry Producers (CAP), Javier Pride, He also pointed out that the decrease in positive cases is considered “advanced”, but also “expected” due to the start of the birds’ migration north, which means that “you can be a little calmer until what they start to come down again”. , that it happens in mid-November”.

Concern in egg production due to the impact of bird flu in the country
Concern in egg production due to the impact of bird flu in the country

According to Prida, the egg production sector “has hit us hard, especially in the patagonian area. There, the second most important farm in Argentina in the production of brown eggs disappeared and another very important farm in the region of Allen, in Río Negro, with more than 250,000 animals, has also disappeared”. This situation, Prida said, has generated a severe shortage of eggs in Patagonia, especially since only brown eggs are eaten there. “Today, maple is worth almost double in the region than in the suburbs, which is exorbitant. These days we meet a group of 15 or 20 large producers with people from a company of chubut to see how we help them provide eggs and end this shortage of Black River A Land of Fire“, explained the businessman.

For the area, the figures were considerable, since more than 700,000 animals were lost, which meant the sacrifice of 85% of the total number of layers in the region, although at the national level “this has no impact significant”, since the strong production is concentrated in Buenos Aires and Entre Ríos. Recall that Argentina produces some 15,300 million eggs per year, allowing per capita consumption of 322 units per year, the third most important brand in the world.

As bird flu is, so far, an incurable disease and there is still no vaccine to fight it, the way used to stop the spread of the virus from infected animals is to kill them. This is the decision that Senasa made with the company Santa Ana Poultrywho, in view of the positive results on 20 hens tested, ordered the sacrifice of 200,000 specimens.

Avícola Santa Ana: SENASA ordered the destruction of 360,000 eggs

Despite the official ruling, the company resisted the measure, arguing that there were procedural errors and that the samples “were never taken”. In this regard, the general manager of Avícola Santa Ana assured that “not only were there no symptoms or mortality among our birds, but the first notification received on Thursday 6 ensured that all the samples had tested negative, then we made sure that 20 had been positive.” and that it was necessary to sacrifice 40 years of work”, a file for which the company of Corrientes seized Justice, which ordered new analyzes.

In this regard, Senasa reported this weekend that “the second sample taken from birds of the poultry farm of Santa Ana de Corrientes, organized by order of the federal justice, gave negative results for the presence of avian influenza as diagnosed by the Senasa National Laboratory”, the only one authorized to analyze the samples.

However, from the public body they said that “given that Argentina has been going through a highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) emergency since entering the country, the high and rapid diffusibility of the virus, added to the fact that the farm in question is located in the risk area due to the proximity of a confirmed outbreak and given the concordance of divergent results regarding the presence of the HPAI virus in it, Senasa considers it appropriate to maintain the prohibition due to the suspicion of the establishment for at least 14 days from the first collection of samples (April 4, 2023) and proceed to a third collection for the development of both molecular (RT-PCR) and serological, which has been communicated to the judicial authority”.

“Today the producer is afraid” (Prida)

In this regard, Prida highlighted as necessary the possibility that “for those very few and specific cases, if there are any doubts, an alternative path is sought that brings peace of mind. Today the producer is afraid , he must pay for the sanitary gun, put in the labor to slaughter the animals, the gas, make the pit and bury the animals Everything is the responsibility of the producer and he has no chance of knowing with another analysis , when there are no external clinical signs, whether there is a positive result or not. “You don’t want to weaken the system or go against Senasa. It’s the opposite: he wants to generate certainties , because our worst enemy is non-declaration, that is to say the permanence and mobility of the virus. Today the producer is afraid”, he concluded.

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