Avian flu: the recommendations of the Ministry of Health to avoid catching it

The National Agrifood Health and Quality Service (SENASA) informed this Wednesday the first bird flu case detection or avian influenza (AI) H5 in wild birds in the lagoon of pozuelosnorthwest of the province of Jujuynear the border with Bolivia.

The Ministry of Health of the Nation issued a statement clarifying that the disease it is not transmitted to people through the consumption of poultry meat and its byproducts. “Therefore, There is no danger in the intake of these foods. Additionally, it should be noted that the risk of transmission to humans is low,” they clarified.

Authorized organisms that people can acquire avian influenza primarily through direct contact with required animals (live or dead) or with their contaminated environments: “Transmission of the virus to people occurs when the secretions or droppings of infected birds are inhaled or the virus enters the mouth, nose or eyes.

Bird flu could mutate and kill one in two people who catch it

besides, wild waterfowl are an important reservoir of influenza A viruses and poultry populations can be infected by contact with wild birds.

To date, no sustained human transmission from person to person caused by avian influenza A(H5N8), A(H5N2), or A(H5N1) viruses has been reported either in the Region of the Americas or globally. In 19 years, from 2003 to 2022, 868 cases of avian influenza in humans were reported worldwide, indicated by the Health portfolio.

What is avian influenza

Avian influenza (AI) is a viral disease that affects poultry as well as wild birds, and can occasionally affect people, being caused by multiple subtypes (H5N1, H5N3, H5N8, etc.) whose genetic characteristics evolve rapidly.

According to the World Organization for Animal Health (WHO), the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) epidemic season occurs with around 290 reported outbreaks in poultry and around 140 in wild birds in the period from December 2, 2022 to January 5, 2023, mainly in European countries and also in the Region of the Americas, Asia and Africa.

Until February 6, 2023, the agriculture authorities of Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, the United States, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Peru, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and Bolivia have detected outbreaks of the virus in poultry, poultry farms, and wild birds.

They declared a health emergency due to cases of bird flu in Argentina

In the same period, there have been two human infections caused by avian influenza A(H5), one in the United States on April 29, 2022; while the second in Ecuador, which was notified on January 9, 2023.

Recommendations to avoid acquiring the disease

From the Ministry of Health of the Nation it is recommended to follow the following care measures:

  • Frequent hand washing with soap and water or use alcohol-based disinfectants.
  • Avoid direct contact with wild birds and, if possible, only observe them from afar.
  • Avoid having unprotected contact with poultry that appear to be sick or dead.
  • in relation to birds in large cities (sparrows, pigeons) the risk is considered very low since these birds have not shown themselves to be very susceptible to the virus so far.
  • If any sick or dead bird is found, avoid contact and notify authorities health workers of the National Agrifood Health and Quality Service (Senasa).
  • Do not touch surfaces that may be contaminated with saliva, mucus, or feces from wild or poultry birds.
  • At the moment, There are no restrictions on travel to areas affected by avian influenza. However, it is recommended that people traveling to areas with avian influenza outbreaks take the necessary preventive measures to avoid the risk of contracting the disease.


You may also like