CAMPINAS, Brazil – Aviagen® Latin America’s Regional Technical Manager Mario Sergio Assayag Junior recently participated in a live broadcast to discuss the status of Avian Influenza (AI) in South America. The program was sponsored by the Foundation of Poultry Science and Technology (FACTA), the Brazilian Association of Animal Protein (ABPA) and the Regional Council of Veterinary Medicine of the State of São Paulo (CRMV-SP).
Joining Assayag in the debate were FACTA's CEO Ariel Mendes, ABPA's Technical Director Sula Alves, and Technical Coordinator Tabatha Lacerda. According to Mendes, AI is currently a great concern due to a high number of cases in South America, namely Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Venezuela, Bolivia, Argentina, and Uruguay. The discussion focused on how AI is currently being managed and what is being done to prevent the introduction of the virus, which is widely circulated through migratory birds.
In 2005, a Highly Pathogenic AI (HPAI) virus of the H5Nx type began to circulate in migratory birds from Central Asia, and from there, spread to East Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and North America.
Assayag added the current outbreak is part of a 2020 virus dissemination, which is considered the largest and longest avian health event since the last century, officially reaching 90 countries in Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Europe. In the US, this H5N1 has impacted 55 million birds in 47 states and 50 million in Europe. Over time, it spread to flocks all over the world, and in November 2022, South America saw its first case in northwest Colombia, on the border with Panama.
“As of Feb. 15, Brazil continues to be AI-free, and the Brazilian government, ABPA, poultry producers, and all members of the production chain have united to take rigorous biosecurity measures to protect poultry flocks in the country,” concluded Assayag.