Bird flu spread to sea lions

The status of wolves infected with avian influenza is in the spotlight for a number of reasons. The first is that the H5N1 virus has spread from birds to mammals, which is why it mutates. Sea lion cases are concentrated not only in Uruguay but also in Argentina, Chile and Peru. But there is a so-called Lobos Island in Uruguay, where 250,000 sea lions live, so monitoring it is particularly important. Yesterday, staff from the National Agency for Aquatic Resources (Dinara) went to the island to conduct random scans of sea lions to see if the virus was found in the mammals’ colonies.

The virus was discovered in Scotland in 1959, killing two flocks of chickens there. Dominant strains continue to evolve, and now the Z.13 genotype is dominant, known as “HPAI A (H5N1)” of the Asian lineage.

Previous avian influenza epidemics have typically originated in crowded environments in Southeast and East Asia, where people, pigs and poultry live in close proximity. Under these conditions, the virus can mutate into something more conducive to infecting humans. Human infection has been detected, but always in the context of human-poultry contact, mainly in Asia, and human-to-human transmission currently does not exist.

Among the 15 subtypes of avian influenza viruses, the H5N1 strain is of particular concern for several reasons. It is a rapidly mutating strain and has a tendency to acquire genes from viruses that infect other animal species. Its ability to cause serious illness in humans has been confirmed twice.

The new paradigm without a lot of scientific information is dissemination to sea lions. Uruguay had its first case of bird flu in March, and there were concerns the virus could spread to poultry. But things went no further. The fact is, now the virus is re-emerging, but in sea lion populations. Seagulls are thought to have carried the virus to the animals’ habitat along much of the country’s coast.

Earlier this year, cases of H5N1 influenza were detected in sea lions in Chile and Peru. Symptoms: Disorientation, lack of coordination, spinning in circles, inability to move, runny nose, salivation, difficulty breathing, and seizures. In recent days, 250 sea lion carcasses have been found in Argentina in 13 coastal habitats, including Necochea, Miramar and Mar del Plata. It is estimated that they all died from the virus.

situation in uruguay

In Uruguay, cases of sea lions killed by the virus have been found along the coast from Montevideo to Rocha.

In Canelones, the mayor confirmed three cases of sea lions infected with the virus, but all of them died. In addition to these three cases, action was also taken on dead specimens found to extract samples for analysis to determine whether they died from the virus.

In Rocha, where the coastline is too long and it is difficult to find possibly dead specimens, the department’s Sector Emergency Coordination Center (Cecoed) held a meeting with authorities from the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries and the National Agency for Aquatic Resources (Dinara). In the region Build a device that can locate potentially dead animals. The difficulty lies in the hundreds of kilometers of vast coastal areas, some of which are nearly inaccessible. There is a sanctuary for these animals in Cape Poland.

In Maldonado, Jorge Píriz, director of environmental management for the mayor’s office, said the government’s actions come from long experience with wolf mortality, which has been documented throughout the year following storms. That is why procedures have been applied for the burial of these animals.

The leader explained to Dinara, Secord and Hidrografia during a meeting this Friday in the province that “the current situation with avian influenza is not a cause for alarm because of the deaths due to it” The rate is lower. The chances of wolves are higher than other chances if avian flu is not present.

Piriz maintains that even in recent weeks, 15 to 20 wolves have sometimes died from various causes, but this indicates a lower mortality rate than in other years.

Diego de Freitas, director of MGAP’s livestock services department, said they can leave Maldonado with confidence because of the organizational work done by the Maldonado municipality on the issue. He noted there was no need to panic and urged the public to avoid all contact with marine mammals.

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