Luiz Carlos Guedes Pinto, the executive secretary at the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, says that Brazil is making preparations and will be ready for the bird flu if it reaches the Americas.
Pinto says that although no cases have been registered in Brazil, an interministerial group is already at work establishing check points at ports and airports and setting up action plans that will be run jointly by government officials, along with the farm and industial sectors.
As part of the preparations, a Hemispheric Conference on Vigilance and Prevention of Bird Flu began yesterday in Brasilia at the Ministry of Foreign Relations with representatives from various multilateral organizations and all the countries in the Americas.
The idea of the conference is to coordinate a hemispheric effort to deal with the problem. "We seek to set up a ring of contention and put into action measures to immediately deal with the disease if it appears." says Pinto.
The Brazilian poultry industry is an important part of the economy says the president of its trade association (União Brasileira de Avicultura), Zoé Silveira d’Avila.
"It is essential to have an efficient system of sanitary defense to protect our sector," he says, addding that there must be regional sanitation programs involving the private sector so that traffic of live birds and poultry products are under close control.