Some 10.5 million birds in the western Mexican state of Jalisco are at risk of contracting avian influenza and 6 million others have been destroyed to stop the spread of the virus, officials said.
The avian flu virus has been detected at just 41 of the 376 farms inspected in Jalisco, leaving "335 farms free of the virus," National Food Health, Safety and Quality Service, or Senasica, director Enrique Sanchez Cruz said.
A total of 299 poultry farms in 15 other states were also inspected and the H7N3 virus was not detected at any of them, Sanchez Cruz said.
"The scientific evidence points to the disease being contained in the region where it was detected last month," Sanchez Cruz said.
Farms classified as being at risk remain quarantined even though the vaccination program has started, with officials trying to prevent the spread of the virus, the Senasica director said.
A total of 56 million doses of the vaccine had been distributed as of Tuesday in Jalisco's Los Altos region, with 80 million doses expected to be distributed before the end of the week, Sanchez Cruz said.
Some 30 million birds at 133 poultry farms have been vaccinated, and another 80 million animals are expected to be vaccinated in the next few weeks, the Senasica director said.
The results of the immunization campaign will be reviewed in mid-August before the second round of the vaccination program starts, Sanchez Cruz said.
The second round of the vaccination program is essential to ensure that the virus is wiped out in the state, Jalisco Poultry Producers Association president Benjamin Perez de Anda told Efe.
"We believe a revaccination will be necessary at the end of August" because we are dealing with "a new vaccine and an unknown virus, but the health officials will make that call," Perez de Anda said.
The vaccine is being produced by the National Veterinary Biological Production Agency, or Pronabive, with assistance from three private pharmaceutical companies.
Bird flu does not pose a risk to people consuming meat or eggs, and the measures being taken are designed to protect the poultry industry, the Senasica said.
Mexico, according to National Poultry Producers Association figures, produces nearly 2.5 million tons of eggs and 1.2 million tons of meat annually. EFE