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Mexico bird flu: Millions of chickens slaughtered to contain H7N3 outbreak

Authorities in Mexico have slaughtered 3.8 million chickens to contain a bird flu outbreak caused by the virus H7N3.

Mexico poultry farm 2012 7 18Enlarge
Chickens at a farm under quarantine in Jalisco state on July 4, 2012, days after Mexico declared a national animal emergency. (AFP/Getty Images)

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Authorities in Mexico have slaughtered nearly four million chickens as they seek to contain an outbreak of bird flu in the central-west state of Jalisco.

Senasica, Mexico’s food safety watchdog, said more than 9.3 million birds were being monitored for the H7N3 virus, Spanish news agency EFE reported today.

Several laboratories have been tasked with making 80 million vaccines to prevent the spread of the disease, the BBC reported. They should be ready by the end of this month.

Bird flu has been detected at 33 of the 253 chicken farms in Jalisco inspected by Senasica, Informador reported.

The Jalisco-based newspaper said 82 farms were found to be free of the disease and 138 were under “strict surveillance.”

Earlier this month, the Mexican government declared a national animal emergency, Al Jazeera reported. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization has confirmed the bird flu epidemic. The virus has cost the Mexican poultry industry $50 million since it was first detected on June 20.

Such outbreaks are monitored closely in Mexico since H1N1 began there in 2009 before spreading around the world and killing 17,000 people.

According to the UN, the H7N3 virus has occasionally caused human disease but has not shown itself to be easily transmittable between humans.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/mexico/120718/mexico-bird-flu-millions-chickens-slaughtered-contain-h