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Mexico Slaughters 2.1 Million Chickens to Contain Bird Flu Outbreak

Update Date: Feb 28, 2013 02:24 PM EST

Mexico has announced that the country has slaughtered over 2 million chickens because they were carriers of the bird flu, H7N3.

The poultry were detected by investigators as having had the illness in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato.

According to CNN, the agricultural minister Enrique Martinez announced that 519,000 egg-producing chickens, 722,265 breeding chickens and 900,000 chickens raised to produce meat had been killed. In the investigations of 35 farms in total, officials determined that 1.3 million chickens did not have the bird flu.

According to the Voice of Russia, the poultry outbreak has been occurring over the past week and a half. Officials say that the virus is one against which the birds have no natural defense. Currently, the country's only line of defense against the bird flu in poultry has been a vaccine which, they say, has been working successfully.

So far, 22 million chickens were vaccinated since the beginning of the outbreak. An additional 40 million poultry will be vaccinated as well.

Since the outbreak, many people worry that the flu will cause an uptick in the price of poultry-related purchases. However, officials say that will not be the case. They say that the poultry represent a small fraction of the number of chicken in the country, which numbers 140 million laying birds and 300 million birds who are fattened to produce meat.

Officials say that the virus is not a public health concern for humans. While some people have become sick from this strain of the virus, it has not shown the capacity to spread between humans.

Still, this marks Mexico's second bird flu outbreak in about six months, according to Medical Daily. In August, the country needed to kill 8 million chickens in connection to an outbreak of the same virus, the H7N3 strain.

In addition, Cambodia has seen an spike in the number of  human bird flu deaths this year, CNN reports. In just the past two months, eight people have died from the H5N1 strain. The strain is extremely contagious among poultry and, though the symptoms resemble the common flu, it kills nearly everyone whom it infects. Of the nine people who became sick with the virus this year, only one has survived.

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