Punta Bermeja sanctuary closed due to bird flu in sea lions

The Minister of Environment and Climate Change of Rio Negro has decided to temporarily close the Punta Bermeja Nature Reserve to the public. This was due to the confirmation of a case of avian influenza in a sea lion (Otaria flavescens) specimen, Certified by SENASA (National Food Health and Quality Service).

The measures reported by the Viedma government are aimed at protecting the health of marine animals and tourists who frequent the coastal area.

Precisely, avian influenza is considered a potentially zoonotic disease that may pose a risk to human health.

sea ​​lion-2.jpg

The virus can be found in the faeces and secretions of seabirds and mammals, meaning that direct contact with these animals or indirect contact with their bodily fluids could pose a risk to people who pass by them.

This action is part of the ongoing monitoring mission to implement precautionary measures and ensure the success of this critical area of ​​biodiversity conservation.

Avian Influenza: What are the health risks?

After a series of bird flu cases were confirmed a few months ago in various locations in the Rio Negro and Neuquen, including chicken farms for human consumption, it is possible that the virus could mutate to constitute an influenza virus. The alarm for the disease remains. It spread more widely from animals to humans.

At present, this possibility seems remote. According to the data of the Ministry of Health of the country, in the 19 years from 2003 to 2022, 868 cases of human infection with bird flu were reported worldwide.

Jorge Calderón, an epidemiologist in Neuquén, explained that this is an H5N1 subtype of influenza A whose genetic characteristics have evolved rapidly. Wild waterfowl are important reservoirs of influenza A virus. Poultry may become infected through contact with wild birds.

“The letter A corresponds to the reservoir host of the virus, in this case birds.” All viruses mutate over the years, and this shift in the core of the virus could make it better or worse, he said. More dangerous, as has happened with variants of the new coronavirus.

Chicken-bird flu.jpg

The last registered cases in the region raised concerns in public opinion due to the potential risk the virus could pose to the population.

In eventual contagion, the disease can cause anything from a common cold to a severe flu, Calderon explained, with the complexity of cases also depending on people’s risk factors.

“People have a lot of information available and they will sound the alarm right away, but above all take precautions like keeping your distance, ventilation and hygiene when going to crowded places, as you have done during the pandemic.”, he pointed out. He also recalled that this year’s flu vaccine will be available in a few weeks, so he recommends that everyone at risk get it.

At the same time, health authorities are conducting epidemiological surveillance of all persons who have been in contact with sick or dead animals or whose environment has been contaminated with excreta in areas where there was an outbreak of AH5 influenza in birds or other animals last year. 10 days without proper use of personal protective equipment.

Also applies to anyone who has been exposed to bird flu and has an acute onset of at least one of the following symptoms within 10 days of last exposure: cough, sore throat, rhinitis, or difficulty breathing.

Source link

Leave a Comment