Brazil Puts Aside US$ 72 Million to Fight Bird Flu

Brazil’s Minister of Health, Saraiva Felipe, announced yesterday the details of the Brazilian government’s plan to deal with a possible bird flu pandemic. According to the Minister, the plan will initially have a budget of US$ 72 million.

The plan will set up early warning units in 21 states, which will work together with what the government is calling sentry-units where rapid diagnosis and treatment can be undertaken. There will be 46 of them spread throughout the country.

The government will also begin stockpiling the only flu drug that is believed to be effective against bird flu, Tamiflur. Brazil has ordered 9 million doses, which are scheduled to arrive in December.

Bird flu is considered an extremely dangerous threat to human health worldwide. An acute respiratory disease that affect birds, it has been transmitted to a small number of human beings who handle birds in a few Asian countries.

But so far it has not mutated into a disease that can be transmitted human-to-human. However, if that happens, it will probably turn into a pandemic and could kill millions around the world.

Brazilian chicken breeders and exporters already have strategies to prevent the bird flu in Brazil, according to the President of the Brazilian Association of Chicken Breeders and Exporters (ABEF), Ricardo Gonçalves.

"The association’s plan is to regionalize the aviculture with the objective of blocking the transit of live birds. The project entails a series of measures to toughen the rigorousness of sanitary issues."

According to Gonçalves, the current strike of federal agriculture inspectors may negatively affect this year’s total expected exports. During the 10 days of strike, the sector had a loss of US$ 140 million in sales.



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