Avian flu confirmed to have arrived in Antarctica for first time

reference picture. Since last year, the H5N1 variant of avian influenza has attracted worldwide attention.


A group of Argentine scientists discovered two skuas near the Argentine base “Primavera” in Antarctica (Skua) dead. This is a polar bird that breeds on Antarctic islands and migrates to South America during the winter.

Samples were collected from the birds to confirm whether they carry the H5 subtype of avian influenza virus, which has caused global alarm since last year due to its high transmissibility among birds and some mammals.

To collect samples, scientists use biosafety equipment to reduce the likelihood of the virus spreading to humans. After collecting samples, they were transferred to the Spanish Antarctic base “Gabriel de Castilla” and the presence of the virus in the birds was confirmed on February 24.

The researchers responsible for reviewing the samples were Ángela Vázquez and Antonio Alcamí from the Center for Molecular Biology of the Spanish Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC).

Although the presence of the virus has been suspected, it has not yet been confirmed through such tests. Mass bird deaths have occurred on some Antarctic islands, and scientists believe this may be related to the presence of the virus.

The virus got there despite the region being in a remote part of the world with unique climatic conditions and therefore unique species of birds and other animals. The route of infection in these birds remains unknown, but it is believed that migratory birds may be one of the vectors due to their contact with other parts of the planet.

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