More Latin American Nations Report H5N1 Avian Flu In Wild Birds

Feb 17, 2023

By Lisa Schnirring

Argentina, Bolivia, Guatemala, and Uruguay reported their first highly pathogenic H5N1 avian flu detections in wild birds, part of an ongoing southward expansion in the Americas of a virus that is hitting birds, with some jumps to mammals, in multiple world regions.


Geese, swallows, swans, pelicans affected

In South America, Argentina's agriculture ministry yesterday said the detection occurred in wild geese in Jujuy province, which is in the far northwest of the country, on the border with Chile and Bolivia. Officials declared a health emergency.

Juan Jose Bahillo, the country's agriculture minister, said the finding isn't surprising and that officials had already stepped up surveillance efforts.

In a related development, Bolivia officials reported the nation's first H5N1 detection, which involved swallows found dead on Feb 1 near the city of Secaba in Chapare province in the central part of the country, according to a notification from the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH). The report said the wild birds were found dead in an area where outbreaks occurred in poultry, which had been reported as highly pathogenic H5 at the end of January.

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