‘Contagion to humans’: Sea lions urged to stay away after bird flu detection; new cases expected

“This particular case may even have been an importation, an animal that was in Mar del Plata and arrived on the coast of Cerro,” they noted from Dinarra.

The National Agency for Aquatic Resources (Dinara) has urged people in Uruguay not to approach sea lions off the country’s coast, as the species’ first case of bird flu was confirmed in the past few hours.

Late Tuesday, the Ministry of Livestock and Livestock (MGAP) reported its first case of bird flu in a sea lion found dead on Cerro Beach last week. This is happening in regions where the disease has been reported for weeks: cases have been reported in Peru, Chile and even Mar del Plata (Argentina).

Livestock confirm first case of bird flu in sea lion that died on Cerro beach

“We have confirmed a case of H5, still to be classified as N1, but considering the outbreak of H5N1 in Mar del Plata in Argentina on August 25 this year, it is likely to be N1. . Considering this risk, it is necessary to inform that we are facing Bird flu cases,” Dinara director Jaime Coronel explained to Telemundo.

Uruguay has a long history of health surveillance. This first case may be the start of several others. “We expect another case to emerge in the next few days,” Coronel said, adding that “these photos show signs of stress in the animal, stretching of the animal’s body or muscle movement, and signs of respiratory distress.”

Regardless, we advise people not to approach sea lions, whether they are symptomatic or not, and especially if they are dead. “Our thinking is that if there’s a sea lion or a sea lion on the shore, whether symptomatic or not, or if it’s dead, it’s advisable not to approach that animal,” Coronel said. This is basically for two reasons: to avoid transmission to Other animals, too, avoid exposing themselves to conditions that could infect humans.

Coronel said: “Infection of bird flu to humans exists and has existed.” The rate is as high as 50%, that is to say, people are worried that the virus will be transmitted to humans. “It is a big problem for humans.” “In the face of cases, we recommend notification, but stay away from animals,” he said.

Likewise, the colonel called for the continuation of “other customs that exist” such as “going to some piers to feed sea lions and get close to some”. “That’s also discouraged at the moment,” he said.

Complaints can be lodged with military personnel near the coast (county navy) or with the ministries (denuncias.dinabise@ambiente.gub.uy / avesnotificaciones@mgap.gub.uy).

Actions before the incident

Uruguay has the largest sea lion sanctuary in Latin America: about 400,000, and another 3,000 or so. However, Di Nara said it was too early to talk about a health emergency and that an analysis should even be done if the detected cases were not from sick animals that had arrived from the coast of Mar del Plata.

“This particular case may even be an imported case, an animal that was in Mar del Plata and arrived on the coast of Cerro. In the next few days we will have pictures of what is happening on the island,” Corone said. Er pointed out.

So far, “surveillance has been done by taking anal and nasal swabs from symptomatic or dead animals.” The official added: “So far, all swabs have been negative a positive result.”

At the same time, in order to reduce contagion, “in the face of death, the response of the dead body is to bury it as soon as possible to avoid contamination.”

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The case of bird flu in sea lions follows the emergence of the flu virus in animals such as black-necked swans, chickens and raccoons in Uruguay.

Asked whether sea lions could use the same vaccinations purchased for chickens, Coronel replied: “In principle, chicken vaccines are not suitable for sea lions. Besides, we are talking about captive populations and wild populations. Peru or Chile Countries like Uruguay have not been vaccinated against this problem. We know that Uruguay has the largest sea lion sanctuary in Latin America. This is a very large population and the impact could be very large.”

Matos says bird flu vaccination will start on May 2: “It does not ensure immunity, but it prevents the entry of disease”

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