SANTIAGO Chile's Agriculture and Livestock Service (SAG) said on Friday that the strain of bird flu detected at a turkey production plant in the country's central Valparaiso region is not highly dangerous.
The outbreak was detected at a plant run by a subsidiary of poultry producer Agrosuper [AGRSU.UL]. The SAG has said it will cull some 350,000 affected birds and quarantine the area to prevent the infectious disease from spreading.
The SAG said that lab tests undertaken in conjunction with the U.S.-based Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service "confirmed that the bird flu virus detected at the turkey plant in Quilpue township is of low pathogenicity, meaning this case poses little risk to animal health."
It added that the results would allow for normal exports from Chile to continue, after countries such as Peru halted poultry imports from the neighboring nation.
In 2002, a highly infectious strain of bird flu was detected in Chile for the first time, curtailing poultry exports. That outbreak was brought under control.
Different strains of bird flu, which can be spread to poultry by wild birds, have been detected across Asia and in Europe in recent weeks.
(Reporting by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Matthew Lewis)