Ecuadorian authorities have activated an epidemiological encirclement following a surge in cases of avian influenza. The first confirmation stemmed from a poultry production farm in the Andean province of Cotopaxi thanks to controls by the Agency for Regulation and Phytosanitary and Zoosanitary Control (Agrocalidad), the Agriculture and Livestock Ministry said.
These controls were upped in response to alerts in Colombia, Peru, and Mexico regarding positive cases of avian influenza, a highly pathogenic disease. During these controls, 24 samples were taken from the affected production unit, which has been placed under state supervision for Agrocalidad technicians to activate the National Avian Influenza Contingency Plan protocols.
Agrocalidad Executive Director Patricio Almeida explained that these protocols entail a quarantine, surveillance, and sampling of the poultry population susceptible to infection in the area to determine if there could be other potential contagions.
The official also pointed out that the affected poultry population does not exceed 0.15% of the national total and is geographically under control.
The authorities also explained that the consumption by humans of chicken meat and eggs is not affected in any way. The disease affects domestic and wild poultry but is not transmitted to humans.
The task to control and eradicate avian influenza is undertaken to keep the productivity of the national poultry sector, which has 1,810 poultry farms and generates US$ 1.8 billion, representing 23% of the Agricultural Gross Domestic Product (GDP), providing 300,000 jobs. It also produces 500,000 tons of chicken and 3 billion eggs per year.
The quality supply of these products is guaranteed, through Agrocalidad actions, the Ministry said.
The Ecuadorian Health Ministry also maintains surveillance and active protocols for COVID-19, influenza, and other respiratory viruses for workers in the poultry area of Cotopaxi, while the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock called on the population to remain calm and perform their regular activities, albeit maximizing biosecurity measures and respiratory hygiene.