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The National Association of Poultry Specialists of Mexico, ANECA, just carried out an excellent course on emerging diseases that has served us all tremendously to get updated about the terrible case of avian influenza in Mexico. Poultry producers will finish this feat having learned many things. Although at first the intention was to be objective and not to exaggerate the impact, the reality is that this has proved to be an extremely costly outbreak and that the national poultry industry will take some time to recover.
Let's put some figures in context. As many know, Mexico is the country with the highest per capita consumption of eggs in the world: 365 units per year, which is one egg per day. The State of Jalisco, where the outbreak began, produces 55 percent of the national egg production, so imagine the impact. Of the 180 million layers, at least 90 million are in that state, particularly in the conflict zone. Today, if the State of Jalisco were a country, it would be the eighth-largest producer of eggs in the world. As mentioned ironically by one of the speakers at the course, "a better place could not have gotten the virus" to wreak havoc. With mortality (which reached 85 percent in some flocks) and slaughtered birds, there are a total of 22.3 million dead hens, although unofficially the figure of 30 million was mentioned.
This has been the H7 outbreak of greater impact in the world, with US$420 million of direct production losses. However, I would like to highlight the important role that the poultry producers’ community, the federal government and the pharmaceutical companies played altogether. A total of 1,555 poultry farms were sampled across the country, which is 39 percent of the 4,000 registered. Thus far, there has been no country in the world that has managed that amount of sampling, nor has there been a case with these features. And within a month, a total of 80 million doses of vaccine were manufactured.
This is a praiseworthy achievement and everyone involved in the quick response and disease control also need to be praised. It is something to be proud of in this country. To date (September 28), as the National Food Safety Agency, Senasica, reports, it's been 38 days without virus isolations. It seems that the disease is under control, and that from here on, a redesign of the poultry sector will be needed in the area of Los Altos and the same State of Jalisco. There is no doubt that many things were learned.