Bird flu spreads in Argentina, with outbreaks detected in four provinces

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Cases of bird flu (AI) H5 are expanding in Argentina, with positives registered this Sunday in districts of Salta (north) and Santa Fe (east), bringing the total number of affected provinces to four out of a total of 24, according to the National Service of Health and Agrifood Quality of Argentina (Senasa).

The state agency said that in the province of Santa Fe, the disease was detected in backyard chickens and ducks found dead in the town of Villa Cañás, some 370 kilometers northwest of Buenos Aires, the country’s capital.

In addition, Senasa confirmed cases affecting chickens in Cerrillos department, Salta province, some 1,500 km northwest of Buenos Aires.

The cases in Salta and Entre Rios are in addition to those registered in the provinces of Cordoba (center) and Jujuy (north), reported on the 18th and 15th of this month, respectively.

Bird flu spreads in Argentina, with outbreaks detected in four provinces
Bird flu is spreading in Argentina, with outbreaks detected in four provinces. (Photo internet reproduction)

Senasa remarked that it is working in the four provinces with positive cases and Entre Ríos (east), bordering Uruguay, since cases have been reported in that country.

The government agency asked the productive sector to “reinforce management, hygiene and biosecurity measures in their poultry farms” and to “immediately notify any detection of nervous, digestive or respiratory clinical signs, decrease in egg production, water or feed consumption and high mortality in domestic or wild birds”.

On the 15th of this month, Argentina declared a sanitary emergency due to AI, a disease that had never been detected in the South American country.

As part of the emergency, increased border controls, communication actions, and surveillance raids on birds near the sites where migratory birds settle have been arranged.

According to information provided by the Ministry of Health of Argentina, up to Feb. 6, 2023, the agricultural authorities of Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, the United States, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Venezuela, and Bolivia have detected outbreaks of HPAI A(H5N1) virus in poultry, poultry farms, and wild birds.

The health ministry pointed out that two human infections caused by avian influenza A(H5) have been reported.

The first occurred in the United States, where subtype A(H5N1) was identified and notified on Apr. 29, 2022; the second occurred in Ecuador, which was notified on Jan. 9, 2022.

In this context, Senasa called on “not to bring poultry or poultry products” into the country without authorization of the agency, called to avoid contact with birds, both wild and domestic or commercial, and asked not to visit poultry farms in Argentina for at least 72 hours if people were in contact with birds in other countries.

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