Ecuador to vaccinate more than two million birds against bird flu

  • In Health
  • 2023-02-01 17:35:42Z
  • By Reuters

By Alexandra Valencia

QUITO (Reuters) - Ecuador plans to vaccinate more than two million birds against bird flu to control an outbreak in the Andean nation, the Minister of Agriculture said on Wednesday.

The South American nation declared an animal health emergency at the end of November due to the first infections on a farm in the central province of Cotopaxi, and there are currently outbreaks in three other provinces.

The poultry vaccination process will begin in the next two months and Ecuador will import four million doses through a Mexican-Ecuadorian partnership, the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Bernardo Manzano told a press conference.

About 1.2 million birds have been infected with the virus and have been culled in the country's four provinces, according to official data.

"The vaccine together with biosecurity and control measures will help prevent the spread of the disease in the country," Manzano said, as well as curb bird mortality rates on farms.

Ecuador reported in January its first case of human transmission of bird flu in a 9-year-old girl, who was likely infected by direct contact with virus-carrying domestic poultry in the province of Bolivar.

Vaccination does not prevent infection on other farms in the risk areas, but it does reduce the mortality rate in birds, said Patricio Almeida, director of the Agency for Regulation and Phytosanitary and Zoosanitary Control (Agrocalidad).

"The vaccine is biologically safe and does not constitute a risk to humans," Almeida told journalists. "It decreases the mortality rate from 80% to 40%."

Ecuador produces 263 million chickens, representing 495,000 tonnes of meat and 4.6 billion eggs.

(Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Writing by Steven Grattan and Josie Kao)


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