Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has recently affected three commercial poultry operations and one cockfighting breeding operation in Peru, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH).

HPAI had earlier been confirmed in seabirds and a small farm in Peru, and now its impact has become more widespread, with more than 49,000 birds susceptible.

Three of the four recently reported cases were in Lima, including a duck farm, a layer farm and a combat breeding operation.

At the duck farm, 2,404 birds died of a susceptible 7,000 birds. The remaining 4,596 ducks were euthanized and disposed of.

At the Lima layer farm, there were 37,000 susceptible chickens – 11,300 of which had already died. Thee remaining 25,700 are being euthanized.

At the combat breeding farm, one bird had died, but 31 other birds on the premises were euthanized.

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The fourth farm in Peru to be affected by HPAI was in La Libertad. There were 5,025 susceptible hens on the premises, including 3,725 that died. An additional 650 birds were killed and disposed of, but WOAH did not state what the fate of the remaining 650 birds was.

The cases were only identified as being of the H5 subtype.

Elsewhere in South America, HPAI has been confirmed in Colombia, Chile, Ecuador and Venezuela.

Avian flu in Panama

In a separate report, the WOAH highlighted the first case of HPAI to be confirmed in Panama. On December 14, a brown pelican was found about 34 kilometers off the coast of Panama City, and samples from that bird were sent to two laboratories, with those samples testing positive for an H5N1 variant of HPAI.

While surveillance activities are taking place, no other deaths in wild birds in Panama or near its coastlines have been reported, the WOAH reported.

Read our ongoing coverage of the global avian influenza outbreak.