First case of H5N1 bird flu reported in Mexican wild duck

FILE PHOTO: Test tubes labelled "Bird Flu" and eggs are seen in this picture illustration, January 14, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

Mexico has reported its first case of H5N1 avian influenza in a migratory duck hours after declaring the country’s poultry farms for of the virus.

Mexican animal safety agency Senasica confirmed in a statement on Wednesday that the virus was found in a “clinically healthy” migratory duck in the state of Jalisco.

The animal safety agency stressed that the confirmed H5N1 case does not signal an outbreak of the disease but poultry farmers should be on alert to prevent the entry of infected wild birds.

Earlier, the government declared in its official gazette that the country was H5N1 free, almost a year after starting a bird vaccination campaign in high-risk areas to prevent its spread.

The H5N1-free designation facilitates the sale of live poultry, as well as poultry products and by-products originating in Mexico, according to the gazette.

In October, the agriculture ministry reported the detection of the virus in a 60,000-bird commercial farm in the state of Nuevo Leon a few days after notifying the World Organization for Animal Health of a first case of the serious strain.

To guarantee Mexico remains free of the disease, it will maintain epidemiological surveillance, traceability, control of movement and other strict safety procedures, the government said in the document.

The Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, commonly called bird flu, has led to the culling of millions of birds in the United States and Europe.

In May, Brazil decreed a 180-day animal health emergency after detecting several cases, and Ecuador confirmed the presence of the virus in some birds in the Galapagos Islands in September.

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