Greater than 3,300 sea lions in Chile die of H5N1 fowl flu

Greater than 3,300 sea lions in Chile die of H5N1 fowl flu

Greater than 3,300 sea lions in Chile have died of H5N1 fowl flu, a six-fold improve in simply 4 weeks, in accordance with authorities estimates launched on Wednesday. The outbreak can also be affecting different marine animals, together with dolphins, porpoises, sea otters and penguins.

The Nationwide Fisheries and Aquaculture Service (SERNAPESCA) stated at the least 3,347 sea lions have been discovered lifeless to this point this 12 months, a notable improve from 1,960 on April 6, and a pointy improve in comparison with the 532 deaths reported on March 18.

Sea lions have been hit unusually arduous in South America. Round 3,500 sea lions in Peruwhich is subsequent to Chile, have been reported to have died of avian influenza as of early March, elevating the opportunity of mammal-to-mammal transmission.

Different marine species in Chile have additionally been hit by fowl flu, most notably Humboldt penguins, of which 933 have been discovered lifeless to this point this 12 months. This represents an estimated 8.5% of all Humboldt penguins in Chile.

“A complete inhabitants of not more than 11,000 Humboldt penguins is estimated in our nation, which isn’t so much, as a result of this species has a extremely localized distribution,” stated María Soledad Tapia Almonacid, the pinnacle of the aquaculture service. “On this contingency we’re near shedding 10% of this species and that definitely worries us.”

SERNAPESCA additionally reported that 2 Chilean dolphins have examined optimistic for H5N1 fowl flu, making it the primary time that dolphins have been affected by the virus within the South American nation. Not less than 9 different dolphins have been additionally discovered lifeless however haven’t been examined.

Different marine animals that are believed to have died of fowl flu embody 16 marine otters and 15 porpoises, a marine mammal carefully associated to narwhal and beluga whales. Many of the deaths have been reported within the northern area.

Final month, Chile reported the nation’s first-ever human case of H5N1 fowl flu, which was reported in the northern city of Tocopilla. The 53-year-old man was final reported to be in essential however secure situation. It’s unknown how he was contaminated.

The worldwide unfold of H5N1 clade 2.3.4.4b – and the current unfold to a rising variety of mammals – has raised concern about the opportunity of a future variant which might result in human-to-human transmission. To date, only some instances have been present in people after contact with contaminated birds.

“The worldwide H5N1 scenario is worrying given the vast unfold of the virus in birds all over the world and the rising studies of instances in mammals, together with in people,” Dr. Sylvie Briand, a WHO official, stated on February 24. “WHO takes the chance from this virus critically and urges heightened vigilance from all nations.”

A Chilean dolphin which died of H5N1 fowl flu on the coast of Chile (Credit score: Sernapesca)
A Humboldt penguin believed to have died of H5N1 fowl flu on the coast of Chile (Credit score: Sernapesca)
A Humboldt penguin which died of H5N1 fowl flu (Credit score: Sernapesca)

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