DAA Daily

Birds and other creatures in Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia dying from Bird Flu

By Hatim Kanchwala, Staff Reporter, The Pawprint DAA

All of these animals fell victim to the impact of avian influenza — a virus rapidly circulating the globe, killing wild and domesticated animals, disrupting ecologies, and hampering the food supply. 

Since late 2022, scientists have detected this virus in more than 100 species of wild birds like ducks, seagulls, geese, hawks, and owls in the US, where cases have also been identified among bears, foxes, bobcats, raccoons, bears, and dolphins.

Global distribution of AIV with zoonotic potential* observed since 01 October 2022 (i.e. current wave)

To date, a total of 82 cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H9N2) including two deaths (both with underlying conditions have been reported to WHO in the Western Pacific Region since December 2015. Of these, 80 were reported from China and two were reported from Cambodia.

How infected backyard poultry could spread bird flu to people graphic

In the U.S., the most recent wave of bird flu has struck 17 mammals and more than 160 birds. It’s the broadest outbreak of H5N1 since it surfaced as a concern in China in 1996.

Avian flu, also known as H5N1, has spread across multiple species in the country. An initial outbreak among birds was first reported in late November 2022 along the Peruvian coast.

The National Service of Natural Areas Protected by the State (SERNANP) has now reported at least 63,000 dead birds due to the virus, as well as a rising number of deaths in other species.

At least 3,487 sea lions have been found dead due to the virus, according to the agency – over 3% of Peru’s sea lion population. It has also recorded five fur seal deaths linked to the bird flu.

National Forest and Wild Fauna Service (SERFOR) personnel check on a sea lion, amidst rising cases of bird flu infections in Peru, February 22, 2023
National Forest and Wild Fauna Service (SERFOR) personnel check on a sea lion, amidst rising cases of bird flu infections in Peru.

Peruvian authorities are urging citizens to avoid physical contact with wildlife, dead or alive.

Avian flu has also infected a record number of birds and some mammals across the United States.

Bird flu has killed tens of thousands of birds, mostly pelicans, and at least 716 sea lions in protected areas across Peru, the authorities said, as the H5N1 strain spreads throughout the region.

National Trust rangers clear dead birds from Staple Island, off the coast of Northumberland.

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