|05SANTIAGO2393||2005-11-23 18:19:00||UNCLASSIFIED||Embassy Santiago|
VZCZCXYZ0003 RR RUEHWEB DE RUEHSG #2393/01 3271819 ZNR UUUUU ZZH R 231819Z NOV 05 FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7919 INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 2415 RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 2970 RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 2784 RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ NOV LIMA 4339 RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 3106 RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 1499
UNCLAS SANTIAGO 002393
1. Summary: This cable outlines preparations in Chile's
agricultural sector. An evaluation of the Chilean public
health sector preparations with be reported septel.
2. Chile has experience with avian influenza (AI) issues due
to a 2002 outbreak of the disease. The GOC demonstrated
transparency and efficiency during the 2002 incident, and the
entire poultry industry upgraded its biosafety measures.
Post believes the Chilean agricultural sector is prepared to
meet the current international challenge. End summary.
3. The GOC does have a plan in place to prevent avian flu
from becoming pandemic, and containing a pandemic if it
occurs. Spanish-language information on this plan can be
found on the Ministry of Agriculture's web page
(www.sag.gob.cl/framearea.asp?cod=4). Embassy Santiago's
Agricultural Attach and Animal and Plant Health Inspection
Service (APHIS) personnel agree that Chile is fully capable
of implementing its domestic plan.
4. As reported in reftel B, Chile has experience with this
disease. In 2002, the first outbreak of AI in Chile led to
the slaughter of $15 million worth of birds from a single
poultry producer. Chile successfully eradicated the disease
within 6 months through a close collaboration between the
public and private sectors. Chile immediately notified its
trading partners, sought assistance from the UN Food &
Agriculture Organization (FAO), and quarantined itself for
three months. Since then, it has systematically increased
the level of sampling in both domestic and wild bird
5. The Chilean agricultural sector is critical to the
country's thriving economy, and AI preparations have been an
important priority for the Ministry of Agriculture. Minister
of Agriculture Campos appointed Claudio Ternicier,
International Trade Director, Livestock Protection Division,
Agricultural Livestock Service (SAG) to be the Government of
Chile's key point of contact for this issue.
6. Chile is actively working with international partners on
this issue, most notably with Asia Pacific Economic
Cooperation (APEC) members. Chile recently signed free trade
agreements with a number of Asian countries (China, South
Korean, Singapore, Brunei and New Zealand) so it is conscious
of how outbreaks in Asia could affect its own economy. On
July 28, 2005, a Chilean delegation traveled to San Francisco
to participate in an APEC AI Task Force. On October 24,
2005, Chile hosted an APEC training seminar for AI technical
experts. Two U.S. experts attended this conference. Chile
has also welcomed USG-sponsored training initiatives and SAG
employees have participated in recent seminars in Iowa and
7. Chile would welcome additional assistance from the U.S.
In an August 2005 meeting with Ambassador Kelly, Minister
Campos urged the USG to take the lead on this complex issue.
Campos noted that, while Chile appears to be well prepared in
terms of testing facilities and equipment, it would welcome
additional scientific collaboration, as Chilean technical
experts need assistance in following the very latest
8. The GOC also indicated its willingness to provide training
to others. As one of the countries with a successful track
record on this issue, they have important "lessons learned"
which could be shared with other countries.
9. The Chilean agricultural sector is capable of detecting a
new strain of influenza among animals. Animal tests can be
processed in 3 days by in-country labs. As mentioned,
increased sampling since 2002 would improve rapid detection.
From an animal health perspective, there are no major gaps in
Chile's detection capabilities. Per reftel B, the GOC
follows international protocols on this issue.
10. Chile's poultry industry is vertically integrated, with
three major companies dominating production, processing and
sales. All three producers have taken AI seriously and have
implemented rapid response mechanisms in close coordination
with SAG. Government and industry worked together during the
2002 outbreak and the affected producer swiftly complied with
orders to destroy $15 million worth of his stock.
11. SAG operates quarantine facilities throughout Chile, as
well as mobile labs which can be dispatched to "hot spots."
These stations are well-stocked with personal protective
gear, staffed by trained personnel and have proved effective
in the past.