Hundreds of sea lions found dead due to H5N1 bird flu in Peru

Hundreds of sea lions found dead due to H5N1 bird flu in Peru
Sea lions, photo: Canva

At least 585 sea lions and about 55,000 birds have died of the H5N1 bird flu virus in protected in Peru, the National Service of Natural Areas Protected by the State (Sernanp) said on Tuesday.

The most affected bird species were boobies, pelicans, gulls, vultures, cormorants and Humboldt penguins. After discovering 55,000 dead birds in eight protected coastal areas, rangers also found 585 dead sea lions in seven protected marine areas. “In recent weeks, avian influenza in birds has been identified as spreading to populations of sea lions,” Sernanp said.

Laboratory tests detected the H5N1 bird flu virus in the dead sea lions in Peru. In response, the authorities announced a biosafety protocol. Peru’s National Forest and Wildlife Service (SERFOR) warned people and their animals to avoid contact with sea lions and birds on the beach.

Europe has been hit by its worst-ever outbreak of bird flu ever, while South and North America are also experiencing severe outbreaks. While it is rare that bird flu jumps over into mammals, the virus has been found in a cat in France, in foxes and otters in Britain, and grizzly bears in Montana. 

The virus has also been found in humans. In humans, bird flu can cause symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, and, in severe cases, pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and even death.

Bird flu, also known as avian influenza, is a highly contagious viral infection that affects birds, particularly farm birds such as chickens, ducks, and turkeys. Symptoms of bird flu in birds can include a sudden drop in egg production, swelling of the head, neck, and eyes, and death.

There are several strains of the virus, some of which can be mild, while others can be highly pathogenic, meaning that they can cause severe disease and death in birds. The H5N1 flu virus, which has been spreading worldwide, is a highly pathogenic one.

There is currently no specific treatment for bird flu in birds or humans.


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