Nearly a thousand seals and sea lions have died as a result of the bird flu epidemic spreading across southern Brazil, according to an official statement. The virus attacks, among others: animal nervous system. On the coast, cases of individuals experiencing tremors and convulsions have been observed. Measures are being implemented to prevent further transmission of the virus.
The Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture has so far reported 148 outbreaks of bird flu (HPAI), also known as bird flu, in the country. They occur mainly along its southern coast. A health emergency has been declared to contain the virus. The spread of the disease resulted in the death of almost a thousand seals and sea lions. HPAI also affects some species of seabirds and possibly porpoises and penguins.
The virus attacks, among others, the nervous system of animals. Scientists have reported cases of infected mammals showing spasms, tremors and convulsions. As Silvina Botta, an oceanologist at the Federal University of Rio Grande (FURG), explains, the symptoms also include “head movements and neck twists that are unusual for these species.”
Bird flu in Brazil
Botta emphasizes that the carcasses of dead animals must be buried or burned as soon as possible. This action is intended to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to other animals and people. In the case of humans, however, the risk of bird flu spreading “is low,” says the expert.
The exact number of animals that died from the virus is unknown.
– We do not have final numbers because we are still monitoring the situation – explains the oceanologist. In the state of Rio Grande do Sul alone, 942 deaths of marine mammals infected with HPAI have been confirmed to date.
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Since the first cases of HPAI emerged in May this year, the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture has been implementing various measures to prevent the spread of bird flu. In particular, these include commercial poultry farms. The appearance of virus outbreaks there could lead to a ban on poultry exports being imposed on Brazil, the largest chicken exporter in the world.
Main photo source: Reuters