Bird Flu Controlled in Mexico

by Xinhua News Agency

Image credit: US EPA

Mexican President Felipe Calderon on Wednesday announced that the bird flu having broken out four months ago in the western Jalisco state has been “totally controlled.”

“After 68 days with no new cases reported, we are entering the stage of eradication” of the H7N3 virus, Calderon said at the presidential residence.

Mexico will recover very soon from the highly dangerous avian influenza, he said, stressing that the control of this disease is the result of “great effort of the government and producers.”

Among the measures, he said the culling of over 22 million chickens, the establishment of a sanitary cordon and the development of an “effective vaccine against the disease, are crucial to control the virus quickly and decisively.”

In the past months, “around 140 million doses of vaccine have been applied, and we also have a sufficient reserve bank to use if necessary,” the president said.

Thanks to efforts to restore the productive capacity of the farming, Mexico is expected to recover in November the number of laying hens to the level prior to the outbreak of the avian influenza, he said.

Calderon noted that the goal now is to stimulate the creation of new chicken producers’ centers in other parts of Mexico to diversify regional egg production and prevent such an impact in the future. However, Jaime Crivelli, president of the National Poultry Union, criticized the government for minimizing the impact of the bird flu on egg production.

As a response, Calderon said his government acted in time, because otherwise the damage to egg production would have been irreversible in his country, the fifth largest producer in the world and the largest per capita egg consumer.

He announced a support of $16.6 million (215 million pesos)in normalizing egg production and credits for those who want to engage in egg production.

The president noted that so far 65 percent of egg production has been restored. Besides, the country has imported nearly 14,000 tons of eggs, mainly from the United States, to meet demand.

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