Avian influenza spreads in South America

12-12-2022 | |
Wild birds on migratory routine are likely to spread the avian influenza vírus to other countries in South America. Several countries have reported pelicans with the disease. Photo: Daniel Azevedo
Wild birds on migratory routine are likely to spread the avian influenza vírus to other countries in South America. Several countries have reported pelicans with the disease. Photo: Daniel Azevedo

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have confirmed highly pathogenic avian influenza has spread to at least 4 countries in South America.

After Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela and Chile have reported cases of avian influenza, which total some 25 outbreaks. Of this, 22 outbreaks occurred in Colombia between 19 October and 30 November in various rural areas. All of them affected backyard poultry production.

Thousands of pelicans have died

There is only 1 case recorded in each of the other 4 countries, all involving pelicans. In Peru, stunning images show hundreds of pelicans dead or suffering from the H5N1 virus, which causes the disease. According to the Peruvian press, more than 13,000 pelicans have died due to the pandemic.

Risk from migratory birds

However, the rapid advance of migratory birds already indicates that countries like Chile and Argentina could be next, as well as Brazil, even though the high Andes Mountains could be a physical obstacle against that process.

Even so, these countries have activated emergency plans to protect their commercial herds, at least. Argentina and Brazil, as well as Paraguay, Bolivia and Uruguay, have not registered outbreaks so far.

In a joint note, PAHO and WHO recommend that member states strengthen coordination between the sectors involved in alerting and responding to zoonotic events. This means that health authorities must implement all necessary and appropriate measures to contain emerging pathogens that could endanger public health.

Cases expected to increase

The PAHO and the WHO also warn that, according to the seasonal pattern of current outbreaks, the number of cases should increase during the coming months. Thus, the WHO also reinforced that countries maintain and strengthen their surveillance services and biosecurity measures on farms.

“The quality of surveillance is a key factor for early detection and timely response to threats to animal health with an impact on public health,” says a statement.

A human case of bird flu

In addition to these 4 South American countries, the international entity also recalls that cases detected this year also involve Canada, Mexico and the US. In the US, there is even an occurrence of a human case of avian influenza.

The top 5 chicken meat producers all over the Americas continue to be the US, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia. In terms of exports, Brazil leads, followed by the US.

Video by news.agrofy.com.br 

Azevedo
Daniel Azevedo Freelance journalist Brazil



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