Bird flu: Brazil declares animal health emergency after several cases found

Brazil has declared a six-month animal health emergency after several cases of avian flu were found in wild birds.

Seven cases have been reported in Espirito Santo state, with another discovered in Rio de Janeiro state.

The emergency declaration makes it easier for the government to now bring in measures to stop the highly infectious H5N1 virus from spreading.

Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of chicken meat, with annual sales of nearly $10bn (£8bn).

Authorities say the cases were found far away from Brazil’s main areas of production in the south of the country.

However, outbreaks in commercial flocks elsewhere have sometimes been observed to follow the discovery of avian flu cases in wild birds.

The finding of a case on a farm often triggers a cull of a large number of birds – and can sometimes prompt trade restrictions from other countries.

The health emergency has been declared across the whole country for the next 180 days as a precaution.

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