A dozen sea lions have been found dead or showing symptoms of bird flu between the El Cóndor Spa and Punta Bermeja de Viedma Nature Reserves in Rio Negro, according to the Rio Negro environment and climate change minister. and information from local councils.
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According to official reports, the infection affecting the Otaria flavescens species (one-haired sea lion) is considered highly pathogenic.
A few days ago, dozens of sea lions were found dead in the port of Necochea, in the city of Buenos Aires. Professionals from the National Food Sanitation and Quality Service (Senasa) were at work this Thursday to determine whether the deaths may have been caused by the birds. influenza. .
Also in Tierra del Fuego, the death of 21 sea lions was reported and at least seven were confirmed to be infected with bird flu, prompting the provincial government to put up posters to prevent people from entering the coastal sanctuary in the city of Rio Grande.
After the new findings in the Rionegro, authorities said that “bird flu is a potentially zoonotic disease, meaning it can be transmitted from animals to humans.”
“The virus can be found in the faeces and secretions of birds and marine mammals, posing a real risk to those who may come into contact with these animals or their body fluids,” they warn.
Senasa personnel collected specimens in the Viedma region and formed an interagency working committee with the goal of “monitoring and effectively addressing” the problem.
The working committee is composed of the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, the Coordinating Department of the Environmental Health Field and Epidemiology of the Ministry of Health, the municipalities of Viedma, Senasa, the Argentine Navy Department and the Rio Negro Police Department.
As mentioned earlier, the goal is to monitor the situation on a long-term basis, to provide the population with updated advice and to disseminate relevant information on a continuous basis.
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Within this framework, the public is advised to maintain “restricted beach access”.
It clarified: “It is strongly requested not to enter the affected beach areas, avoiding contact with these areas will help reduce the risk of contagion.”
In addition, it is recalled that it is forbidden to bring pets to the beach because “the contact of domestic animals with the virus is very dangerous and facilitates the spread of the virus.”
Authorities also recommend keeping a safe distance and avoiding direct contact “to minimize the chance of virus transmission if sea lions are seen or dead birds are found.”
Advise “no contact with surfaces, whether wild or free-ranging, that may be contaminated with saliva, mucous membranes or bird droppings”.
“If wild and domestic birds are found to be sick or dead, Senasa authorities must be contacted immediately,” they said.
The official form of communication is the Senasa Notification App for Android devices, email at (email protected), call 11 5700 5704, complete the online form or the nearest office.
In the end, it was recalled that “at this time, everyone’s cooperation and responsibility are essential to control the spread and safeguard the health of the people.”
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It also asked the community to “keep informed of the situation through official channels and to follow the instructions of the intervening agency authorities”.