Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

One million chickens in Mexico are slaughtered after contract avian flu

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
March 1st, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A million chickens infected with bird flu in Mexico have been slaughtered and disposed of by authorities. The virus was found in 18 farms in Guanjuato, a state in the center of the country, according to the Agriculture Ministry.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Officials say the H7N3 virus does not pose a threat to humans. "This virus is exclusive to birds, so there is no risk for public safety," a spokesman said.

Nearly two million birds have been vaccinated, with plans for millions more in the coming months.

There have been discrepancies about the number of infected birds and the number that were slaughtered. Agriculture Minister Enrique Martinez said that more than 2.1 million chickens had been killed earlier this week, including 519,000 egg-producing chickens, 722,265 breeding chickens and 900,000 chickens raised for meat.

Javier Usabiaga Arroyo, a state agriculture official, later put the total number was about 1.2 million, according to Mexico's state-run Notimex news agency.

Officials have vaccinated 1.9 million birds since the outbreak began earlier this month, and they plan to vaccinate millions more. The Mexican Government also attempted to allay fears about food prices spiking, saying the number is a fraction of the overall chicken population.

"The outbreak of avian influenza is controlled," Mexico's food safety agency said in a statement.

Other strains of bird flu have spread to humans, most notably the SARS epidemic that began in January 1998. Hong Kong authorities ordered all chickens for sale in markets to be destroyed after the H5N1 strand infected 18 people, killing six.

A major outbreak of the H5N1 virus in West Bengal, India last year led to the culling of 2.6 million birds.

There were 65 outbreaks of H5N1 worldwide in 2006, killing a total of 115 people, the highest number to die from the disease in a single year.

A new strain of avian flu, H3N8, killed 162 harbor seals in New England after jumping from birds to humans in July last year. Scientists warn it could be even more dangerous if it jumps to humans.

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)