Authorities declare animal health emergency across the South American country, following bird flu outbreak first detected at a poultry farm in the Andean province of Cotopaxi.

Ecuadoran poultry sector has 1,810 farms and generates $1.8 billion, around 23 percent of the agricultural GDP.
Ecuadoran poultry sector has 1,810 farms and generates $1.8 billion, around 23 percent of the agricultural GDP. (Reuters Archive)

Ecuador has declared an animal health emergency due to an outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu.

The Agriculture Ministry said on Wednesday that bird flu does not pose a risk to people's health and has guaranteed the safety of consuming eggs and chicken meat.

"During the next 90 days, it will not be possible to move birds, products and by-products of avian origin such as eggs, hens, chickens, among others, from the farms affected by the outbreak," the ministry added.

Local authorities said the detected contagion represents only 0.15 percent of the country's poultry population, which counts some 263 million chickens and 16 million laying birds.

180,000 birds to be slaughtered

The bird flu outbreak was first detected over the weekend at a poultry farm in the Andean province of Cotopaxi, south of the country's capital Quito, sparking quarantine efforts across potentially infected areas.

Some 180,000 birds in the area are set to be slaughtered to prevent the spread of the virus, the ministry said in a statement.

The Ecuadoran poultry sector has 1,810 farms and generates $1.8 billion, around 23 percent of the agricultural Gross Domestic Product.

Source: Reuters