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Jan 9, 2013By Benjamín Ruiz
Last night, I went to bed right after reading the news in the digital version of the newspaper Reforma that a new avian influenza outbreak was reported in the state of Aguascalientes, in Western Mexico. According to reports, the H7N3 virus A has a genetic similarity of 99 percent with the virus that spread in the outbreak of Los Altos in the state of Jalisco, about 6 or 7 months ago. So far, according to the report MEX 09-01-13 OIE A, a total of 284,755 birds have died, of which only 740 are deaths from the disease and the vast majority from sacrifice.
The state of Aguascalientes is a very small state -- number 28 out of 32 in Mexico -- only 5,471 km2. However, in broiler production it accounts for an outstanding 10 percent of the national production (according to the National Poultry Producers Assocation, UNA), while in layers, it accounts for less than 1 percent, according to other sources. Due to its proximity to the Los Altos region, and perhaps due to the broad road system in the region, it makes it a highly-sensitive area. I remember in one of the many presentations I've heard about it, at the beginning of the last outbreak, all contaminated farms were those bordering high-traffic roads.
Once again, I would like to highlight that it was precisely the affected poultry farmer who alerted authorities just five days ago, and that authorities (both, the state government and Senasica) acted quickly, despite the "secrecy" the newspaper talks about, which I believe has its rationale, in order to confirm the case and not to cause panic.
I confess that I did not have any nightmares about it, but when I woke up, my first thoughts were focused on this bad news for the Mexican poultry industry. I think it is time to assess the situation thoroughly to end once and for all with the scourge.
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