21 sea lions die in Tierra del Fuego

Argentina has not lost its sanitation despite tests from the Senasa National Laboratory testing positive for bird flu.

Given the suspicion of the deaths of several sea lions, it was decided to send the samples to Senasa National Laboratory. They were diagnosed positive for H5 avian influenza.

The sea lions were found dead in the Rio Grande, Fuego province. The first case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 positive in a wild mammal was possibly confirmed among 21 dead bodies.

These studies were conducted as a result of surveillance actions and hygiene measures across the country to prevent the disease.

This follows Senasa Resolution 147/2023, which declared a state of emergency due to HPAI, with the aim of continuing to be a poultry disease-free country.

Senasa, together with the provincial government and the municipality of the Rio Grande, formed a commission to monitor the affected area and carry out control and containment tasks.

Despite the low number of cases, the alarm remains due to the ease of transmission. Therefore, health agencies continue to work with different regions to prevent transmission.

Faced with the discovery of infected wolves, Senasa and the provincial environment department developed sanitation protocols to intervene.

It is for this reason that access and approaches are disabled along the coast of the Rio Grande Reserve. In addition, samples were collected and sent to Buenos Aires for analysis.

It is known from other cases around the world that marine mammals can be susceptible to bird flu and occasionally become infected. The known positive cases in the region are in Peru and Chile.

Members of the Senasa National Animal Health Agency and its Regional Center for Southern Patagonia; representatives of the Ministry of Production and the Environment and the Ministry of Health of the province of Tierra del Fuego, Antarctica and the South Atlantic Islands met to develop guidelines for follow-up.

According to the World Organization for Animal Health (DNSA), Argentina was restored to health status as a bird flu-free country on Tuesday. This is why the export of poultry meat and poultry eggs has been restarted.

It has been 162 days since the first bird flu outbreak occurred in Argentina. At that time, there were 2.2 million poultry on 18 farms in the country.

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