Bird flu outbreak: MGAP, MSP and Ministry of Environment apply protocols to protect sea lions

The sea lion population in Lobos Island is estimated to be as high as 400,000.
The sea lion population in Lobos Island is estimated to be as high as 400,000.

The Ministry of the Environment (MA), the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries (MGAP) and the Ministry of Public Health (MSP) are implementing sanitary measures aimed at detecting and taking immediate action, so that actions in favor of the health of marine animals are being taken including the following situations Sea lions infected with bird flu.

This disease that affects these marine animals (as well as various mammals, such as dogs, cats, and even humans) has authorities remembering: There is no cureand the virus can cause severe muscle, neurological and respiratory effects, ultimately leading to Death of affected specimens.

Although the risk of infection in humans is very low, people must remain vigilant and take precautions as cases of contagious disease may occur. To date, there have been no cases of avian influenza transmitted from marine mammals to humans worldwide. However, to avoid any possible risk, the Department of Environment, MGAP and MSP are calling on people and pets to avoid direct contact with live or dead sea lions.

How to report a suspected case of avian influenza

If you encounter a sea lion and suspect symptoms of H5 avian influenza, you should notify the National Agency for Aquatic Resources (Dinara) immediately. You can do this by sending an email to or Acting quickly in these situations is critical to an effective response.

It is important to stress that there have been no reported cases or public outbreaks of avian influenza among production, backyard or wild birds in the country. Detection in marine mammals does not affect animal health status. Therefore, there is no risk in consuming fish and other seafood or poultry.

H5 avian influenza virus and how it spreads

H5 viruses are mainly transmitted through the oral and respiratory routes and through secretions such as saliva or mucus and excretions such as urine and feces. It is important to emphasize that the survival of the virus in the environment is limited and varies depending on humidity, solar radiation and wind.

Authorities report that steps have been taken for the final safe disposal of the carcasses of the affected sea lions. In addition, surveillance efforts are being actively carried out along coastal zones, islands and islets to detect possible cases of avian influenza in marine animals.

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