Faced with the recent confirmation of cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza
(IAAP – H5N1 virus) in wild birds in Argentina and Uruguay, the Minister of
Agriculture and Livestock, Carlos Fávaro, reinforced this Wednesday (15) that Brazil
remains free of such disease, but surveillance status is increasing.
Avian influenza, also known as bird flu, is a highly contagious viral disease that
primarily affects domestic and wild birds.
“We are taking preventive measures, reinforcing our surveillance system at the
borders, but ensuring that, for the time being, Brazil continues with avian flu free
status”, said Fávaro in a press interview, emphasizing that the disease is not
transmitted by poultry meat. nor the consumption of eggs.
In addition to increasing active surveillance measures, which include strengthening
inspection by the Ministry of Agriculture, the minister highlighted the importance of
passive surveillance, which is the communication of the disease by producers and
citizens who notice symptoms in domesticated or wild birds. When noticing birds with
respiratory, nervous, digestive signs or high mortality, including in free-living birds,
the information must be made immediately to the municipal Official Veterinary
Service or via the internet on the platforme-Sisbravet.
The minister also highlighted the efficiency of Brazil’s surveillance system. “We have
a good system, which prevents a lot. We are prepared to face and continue to
guarantee our exports and the status of a country that has regional leadership in
health surveillance”, he said.
So far, no case of avian flu has been confirmed in Brazil. Recently, two birds with
symptoms were found in Rio Grande do Sul and one in Amazonas, but after sample
collection and analysis, the hypothesis of H5N5 was discarded. The samples are
sent to the reference laboratory in Avian Influenza, the LFDA-SP, in Campinas. The
LFDA is a reference for the detection of Avian Influenza in Latin America, having
confirmed cases in countries neighboring Brazil.
Mapa’s Secretary of Agricultural Defense, Carlos Goulart, informed that the highest
and most acute risk of the disease entering the country occurs until April and May, as
the risk is related to the migration of birds. “We are going through the acute phase of
risk of occurrence, until they return to their natural migration that occurs every year
to the northern hemisphere”, he said.
This afternoon, Mapa is holding a meeting with the entire Brazilian Agricultural
Defense System, which brings together public bodies and representatives of the
private sector, to establish the chain of command and action for cases of detection or
symptoms of avian influenza. The Department of Animal Health is also in real-time
contact with health authorities in neighboring countries, according to Goulart.
Mapa also already has a contingency plan prepared to develop actions in case the
disease enters the country. “If by chance the disease enters the country, the official
veterinary service of the states already takes actions to block the area and other
actions foreseen within the plan are carried out within a radius of 10 kilometers of
detection. It’s a series of actions that are triggered as needed”, explains the
coordinator of Strategic Affairs at Mapa’s Department of Animal Health, Anderlise