Ecuador declares animal health emergency after bird flu outbreak

QUITO, Nov 30 (Reuters) – The Ecuadorian government declared an animal health emergency on Wednesday due to an outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu, its Agriculture Ministry said.

The bird flu outbreak was first detected over the weekend at a poultry farm in the Andean province of Cotopaxi, south of the country’s capital Quito, sparking quarantine efforts across potentially infected areas.

Some 180,000 birds in the area are set to be slaughtered to prevent the spread of the virus, the ministry said in a statement.

The Government said that bird flu does not pose a risk to the people’s health, and has guaranteed the safety of consuming eggs and chicken meat.

“During the next 90 days, it will not be possible to move birds, products and by-products of avian origin such as eggs, hens, chickens, among others, from the farms affected by the outbreak,” the ministry added.

Local authorities said the detected contagion represents only 0.15% of the country’s poultry population, which counts some 263 million chickens and 16 million laying birds.

The Ecuadorian poultry sector has 1,810 farms and generates $1.8 billion, around 23% of the agricultural Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Reporting by Alexandra Valencia
Editing by Bill Berkrot

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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