Mexico is working hard to prevent outbreaks of a bird flu epidemic that has stricken the U.S. poultry and egg industry in recent months, a senior Mexican agriculture ministry official said on Wednesday.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, was responding to comments on Tuesday by a world health official who said that Mexico was particularly vulnerable.
Bernard Vallat, director-general of the Paris-based World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), said there is a high risk that bird flu strains could spread within the American continent, mainly to Mexico. Vallat urged farmers and authorities to boost biosecurity measures.
The Mexican ministry official said that over the last two years, all Mexican poultry farms have been vaccinated, and the country’s animal health agency continues to aggressively inspect all imported birds.
“We have not had any (new) incidents,” the official said.
A strain of the bird flu virus spread across Mexico’s poultry industry in 2012 and 2013 and led to the death of nearly 20 million birds over two years.
The official added: “This risk is there due to our shared border and the trade on the border … but all countries that trade with the United States are in danger not just Mexico.”
The U.S. poultry industry is confronting its biggest recorded outbreak of bird flu, which has led to the death or culling of more than 40 million birds after confirmation on commercial farms and backyard flocks in 16 U.S. states and in Canada.
(Reporting by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Matthew Lewis)