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California Department of Food and Agriculture

Avian Influenza     En EspaÑol


Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza found in Commercial Poultry in Mexico (2012 – 2014)


April 28, 2014: Since June of 2012 an outbreak of the highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza H7N3 has spread within 5 Mexican states (See map below). The Mexican states affected are considered major layer and broiler production states and consequently the outbreak has had a major effect on the Mexican commercial poultry industry. Control measures including depopulation and vaccination are on-going. According to the World Organization for Animal Health's (OIEs) website the majority of the outbreaks have been "resolved." However, the OIE reports one continuing outbreak of HPAI in the state of Jalisco.

Mexico Avian Influenza Map

2013 HPAI Updates

2013 HPAI Updates

November 12, 2013: In August two new outbreaks of highly pathogenic H7N3 were identified in a 10,000 bird layer farm in the Mexican state of Jalisco and in a backyard quail farm in the Mexican state of Guanajuato. Both states were previously affected with H7N3. Control measures including depopulation and vaccination are on-going. These most recent outbreaks are part of an on-going H7N3 outbreak that started in June of 2012.

June 12, 2013: The Mexican Government provided the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) a follow-up report on additional outbreaks of highly pathogenic H7N3 avian influenza (HPAI) affecting broilers, breeders, layers and backyard poultry on premises in the Mexican States of Guanajuato (3), Puebla (2), Jalisco (1) and Aguascalientes (2). Of the 1,111,088 susceptible birds 815,034 birds were depopulated by animal health authorities. The disease detections in Guanajuato led to the vaccination of 5,512,080 chicken breeders and layers. Quarantines, surveillance, vaccination of at-risk birds and other control measures continue. The ongoing epidemiological investigations have implicated contact with wild birds as a factor in the continuing disease outbreak.

April 29, 2013: New outbreaks of HPAI H7N3 continue to be found in Mexico. Several outbreaks were identified in previously immunized flocks, that the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) reports did not show clinical signs of disease or decrease in production. Multiple new outbreaks were found in Jalisco (6), Guanajuato (4) and Tlaxcala (1) on commercial layer farms, heavy breeder farms (3), a broiler farm (1) and in a backyard poultry flock (1).  Disease in a backyard flock in the State of Tlaxcala is a region southeast of other affected states, which had been H7N3-free until the most recent report.  Affected and exposed backyard poultry from the township in Tlaxcala were depopulated. It is believed that the disease introduction into Tlaxcala was through unauthorized shipment of live birds from an H7N3-affected region under quarantine. The epidemiological investigation is ongoing.

March 28, 2013: The outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) serotype H7N3 continues in the Mexican State of Guanajuato. As of March 12, 2013, the industry and government had culled approximately 3.9 million birds, including almost 2.2 million broilers, almost 1 million layers and almost 800,000 breeders. The disease has been found in forty-six (46) commercial facilities and two (2) backyard operations. Depopulation and vaccination activities continue. Since June of 2012, H7N3 HPAI has been identified in the Mexican States of Aguascalientes, Jalisco and Guanajuato. The Mexican government and poultry industry undertook a vaccination program with the goal of administering around 210 million doses per month. Since January 2013, reports indicate vaccine administration in the following affected states: Guanajuato – 5.5 million doses of vaccine; Aguascalientes – 661,000 doses; and Jalisco – 39 million doses. To prevent further spread, the Mexican government has authorized the administration of 57 million doses of vaccine to "long-life" birds in nine (9) Mexican states with priority given to progenitor birds (producing breeder hens), breeders (producing broiler chicks and layer chicks for table eggs) and layers. Vaccination is being accomplished in the States of San Luis Potosi, Mexico, Hidalgo, Tlaxcala, Michoacán and Morelos vaccine for breeder hens, in Coahuila for progenitors and breeders and in Puebla and Queretaro for the entire breeder and layer inventory. Unofficial figures from the National Poultry Association (UNA) estimate that the 2013 HPAI outbreak in Mexico has cost approximately $32.1 million U.S. dollars.

February 27, 2013: The Mexican Government notified the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) on February 18, 2013 of outbreaks of highly pathogenic H7N3 avian influenza (HPAI) affecting birds in the central Mexican State of Guanajuato. The outbreak has spread to eighteen (18) farms. In addition to depopulation of 2.1 million birds, the Mexican animal health agency SENASICA launched a vaccination program for Guanajuato breeder and layer farms; 22 million birds have been vaccinated since the beginning of the outbreak. An additional 40 million doses of vaccine are being distributed this week to protect unaffected birds. The preliminary epidemiological investigation suggests biosecurity failures with virus introduction and spread of the virus on fomites. The investigation is ongoing.

January 25, 2013: The Mexican Government notified the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) of two newly-detected layer farms, positive for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) serotype H7N3, in the Mexican state of Jalisco. More than 18,000 birds have died as a result of the outbreak; there are approximately 400,000 susceptible birds on these premises. Quarantine, movement controls, active and passive surveillance, depopulation, and cleaning and disinfection are being employed in response to disease detection. There is speculation that the recurrence of disease in Jalisco may be related to breaches in biosecurity and failure to administer the 2nd vaccination of the targeted immunization program. The H7N3 serotype was implicated in the June 2012 HPAI outbreak in Jalisco and the January 2013 outbreak in the neighboring Mexican state of Aguascalientes.

January 11, 2013: Outbreaks of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) serotype H7N3, on two egg laying facilities in the Mexican state of Aguascalientes, were recently reported to Mexican authorities. The detection of disease on the first egg laying premises on January 3, 2013 followed observation of increased morbidity and decreased egg production. The disease on the second premises was detected during increased active surveillance throughout the State of Aguacalientes. The epidemiological investigation and active and passive surveillance are ongoing.

Implemented disease control measures include the depopulation of approximately 300,000 birds, vaccination of laying and breeding hens in the infected and buffer zones, increased biosecurity and movement control of live poultry and poultry products. Cleaning and disinfection of infected facilities and equipment and destruction of hen manure at both premises is complete. The use of sentinel birds will aid in confirming the effectiveness of the cleaning and disinfection process on these premises.

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The September 2012 HPAI serotype H7N3 outbreak in Mexico was in the northeastern part of the State of Jalisco, which borders the State of Aguascalientes. The identified H3N7 strain in Aguascalientes is 99% genetically identical to the strain from the previous outbreak in Jalesco.

Aguascalientes ranks 3rd in production of broilers in Mexico, but has lower ranking for egg production.

2012 HPAI Updates

2012 HPAI Updates

November 11th 2012:  Mexico City: While officially the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) has not declared an end to the H7N3 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza outbreak in Mexico, after more than 88 days without a new case, Mexican president Felipe Calderõn has declared an end to the H7N3 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza outbreak. The Western Mexican state of Jalisco is still the only state that has been affected. Because of the use of vaccine the OIE may wait until all the vaccinated birds are depopulated before declaring the end of the outbreak. Up to this point approximately 140 million vaccines have been administered and between 22 and 25 million birds have been killed by the disease or culled. In addition, the cost of the outbreak has been estimated at 860 million US dollars and has cost over 7,000 jobs.

August 23rd, 2012: MEXICO CITY: The Mexican government has now identified the H7N3 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) at 41 farms in the western state of Jalisco. In response Mexican animal health officials have culled approximately 11 million chickens and have administered approximately 80 million doses of vaccine on 166 poultry farms. The virus has not be identified outside of Jalisco at his point. It has been estimated that producers will need approximately 1.5 years to recover all the layers that that have been lost.


July 20th 2012: MEXICO CITY: The Mexican government has now identified the H7N3 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) at 33 of 253 chicken farms in the western state of Jalisco. In response Mexican animal health officials have culled approximately 3.8 million chickens. A vaccination program has been initiated which includes vaccine from domestic and international sources. The virus has not be identified outside of Jalisco at his point.

July 3, 2012: MEXICO CITY: The Mexican government declared a national animal health emergency on Monday, July 3rd in the face of an aggressive bird flu epidemic that has infected nearly 1.7 million poultry on 10 poultry facilities in the western state of Jalisco. More than half the infected birds have died or been culled. The outbreak was first detected June 20th and was confirmed on Friday June 30th by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). The virus responsible for Mexico's current bird flu outbreak, H7N3, has occasionally caused human disease in various parts of the world, according to the UN, but has not shown itself to be easily transmittable between humans. The outbreak was first detected on June 20. The FAO reported on Friday that 1.7 million birds had been contaminated and 870,000 had died at 10 breeding farms in the western state of Jalisco. The emergency declaration on Monday included provisions for continued surveillance, quarantine, slaughter, vaccination, and the destruction of infected products. The agriculture ministry said poultry farming "contributes up to 40 percent of the total volume" of the country's livestock production, and the "economic loss" from this epidemic "is and will be irreparable." [ Source: National Institute for Animal Agriculture ]

June 25, 2012: The USDA's Veterinary Services (VS) branch of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service was informed by their Mexican counterparts the detection of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H7N3 virus in three large commercial operations in the Mexican State of Jalisco.   The state of Jalisco does not export poultry to the United States.

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VS will take the following actions, which are standard when HPAI is detected in a country that was considered free:

  • Initially, VS will consider the entire country affected with HPAI.
  • Once VS is able to evaluate the epidemiology information provided to us from Mexico, we may be able to narrow the nationwide ban, likely to a single state.  After regionalizing to the state level, we may be able to regionalize further, to the county level.  This will depend on an assessment of the risk and the effectiveness of movement restrictions from the affected area.
  • U.S. port personnel will be notified through a port alert.
  • APHIS will be in close contact with Mexican government officials to gather epidemiological information regarding the progress of the disease control operations in the State of Jalisco.

Sixty poultry farms within the area of the outbreaks have been sampled in order to determine their health status and officials are in the process of establishing control measures to prevent further spread.

We do not anticipate that the detection will have an extensive impact on trade. Only two establishments in Mexico export fresh poultry meat to the United States. Based on our regulations, these establishments only receive U.S. origin poultry for further processing (cut up, deboned, packaged), which is then exported back to the U.S. This trade will not be affected by the HPAI detection. Except for returning US-origin pet birds, live birds are not allowed from HPAI-affected countries. Over the past year, ten returning pets of U.S.-origin were imported from Mexico, along with one shipment of 40 birds for commercial sale. No live poultry or eggs for hatching were legally imported from Mexico during that timeframe.

As more information becomes available, we will continue to provide updates on the situation.