A new health emergency rests on Argentina: the avian complaint, particularly the H5N1 virus. The first case, an Andean goose, a wild migratory species, was detected a week ago in the Pozuelos lagoon. Since then there have been at least 98 suspicious notifications, with eight confirmations in Jujuy, Salta, Córdoba and Santa Fe.
The World Health Organization is blunt: after Covid, humanity must prepare for the possibility of another pandemic. The United States records the deadliest year for poultry in its history, with 58 million animals carried out. Between October 2021 and September last year, 50 million had to be sacrificed in Europe.
Although the H5N1 has been spreading among wild and poultry birds for 25 years, in recent months also infected minks, otters and sea lions, 634 of which were killed this summer on the Peruvian coast. These animals “must be closely monitored,” according to the director of the agency, Tedros Ghebreyesussince the jump from the virus to mammals implies a greater proximity to human beings.
At the moment, the disease is transmitted when people come into direct contact with saliva, mucosa or feces of sick birds, with contaminated surfaces or with the virus suspended in the air, either in drops or dust. There is no contagion by eating meat or eggs. Nor are there reports of sustained transmission, although isolated, from person to person.
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The most frequent symptoms are gastrointestinal problems, fever and cough, which can lead to pneumonia, septic shock, acute respiratory distress syndrome or even death, note the WHO. The case fatality rate is much higher than that of the seasonal complaint.
The recommendations to avoid contagion are to wash your hands frequently, and avoid direct contact with wild birds and potentially contaminated surfaces. In case of finding any sick or dead bird, it is requested to notify the SENASA. As sparrows and pigeons have not shown to be very susceptible to the virus, the risk of contagion in city birds is still considered low.
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