Avian influenza in sea lions and seabirds: ‘The best prevention is information’

Important study reveals spread of avian influenza among coastal birds and sea lions.

In a recent interview with LU15, veterinarian Mario Spicoli shared the results of ongoing research on avian influenza that is affecting birds and sea lions in the coastal zone between Viedma and Patagones.

Spiccoli reported that exhaustive sampling had taken place over the past 48 hours, marking a milestone in the investigation that began last October. As cases have been confirmed in different parts of the coast in the past few hours, there has been a major shift in the precautionary measures previously taken in the absence of the virus.

“We are waiting for the swab test that was done last Friday in cooperation with the SENASA staff,” Spiccoli explained. Thirteen new animal deaths have been detected in the El Faro area in these days. High pathogenicity and mortality have been observed in birds and sea lions, and the rate of transmission and consequences are of concern.

Understanding the dynamics of the struggle between a virus and affected animals is complicated by a lack of tools to track the evolution of this interaction, experts note. “The possibility of human infection cases is also of concern based on previous studies in Europe, such as the UK and Germany, where people working with large numbers of birds have shown greater susceptibility to infection,” Spiccoli said. possibility.”

Veterinarians warn that while humans are not the main host of the virus, there is still a risk of contagion. Therefore, the precautions that are currently being communicated are critical to avoid contact with infected animals and their faeces, secretions and fluids, whether they are alive or dead. Spiccoli also stressed the importance of getting information from reliable sources, such as SENASA and the local health ministry, rather than relying on WhatsApp groups or rumors in social networks.

“The best preventive measure is information,” Spiccoli stressed. Additionally, he called for responsible pets and recalled the importance of animal control, especially in areas where the virus has been detected. Spicoli’s final message was clear: In these uncertain times, staying informed and following the advice of health authorities is critical to protecting the health of communities and local fauna.

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