An outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) hit a poultry breeder facility in General Cepeda, Mexico.

According to a report from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), heavy hens in two houses at the breeder farm were showing clinical signs, including lesions consistent with the disease. Of the 74,463 susceptible birds on the premises, 543 of them died.

Tests were conducted at the National Agrifood Health, Safety and Quality Service of Mexico  (SENASICA) National Laboratory, and those test results came back on April 22 and April 24, showing the hens were positive for a highly pathogenic strain of H7N3 avian influenza. According to OIE, this is a “new strain in a zone or a compartment.”

Protective measures already taken include zoning and quarantine, while the surviving birds will be stamped out and disinfection procedures will be implemented, OIE stated.

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Meanwhile, sampling is being carried out in commercial and household poultry production units located within a five-kilometer radius of the affected farm to assess the situation. A vaccination campaign was immediately launched for birds in household and commercial farms in neighboring communities. Surveillance has been reinforced at State check and inspection points to prevent movements without official control of live birds and their products and by-products. Poultry farmers have been urged to strengthen biosecurity measures on their farms and to immediately report to official veterinary staff any suspicion of the presence of the disease.

General Cepeda is in the Mexican state of Coahuila, which borders with the U.S. state of Texas.

Meanwhile, further north of the border, the states of Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Delaware, Maryland and Utah have had confirmed cases of HPAI in commercial poultry flocks.

Read our ongoing coverage of the global avian influenza outbreak.