NewsDesk @bactiman63

The National Agrifood Health and Quality Service (SENASA) reported the first detection in the country of avian influenza (AI) H5 in wild birds in the Pozuelos lagoon, northwest of the province of Jujuy, near the border with Bolivia.

Image/Robert Herriman

At the moment, the disease is not transmitted to people through the consumption of poultry meat and its by-products. 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.

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

People can acquire bird flu mainly through direct contact with infected animals (live or dead) or 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. In turn, wild waterfowl are an important reservoir of influenza A viruses, and poultry populations can become infected through 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.

The Secretary of Access to Health, Sandra Tirado, highlighted the permanent joint work that they have been developing with the Secretary of Agriculture, SENASA, the Ministry of Security and the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development. In this context, the official remarked that she has also made contact with the health teams of all the provinces and an epidemiological bulletin was shared to alert about suspected or compatible conditions with this disease.

On the other hand, Tirado explained that the probability of transmission of the virus from a sick bird to a human is very low and also brought peace of mind to the population about the consumption of poultry meat or its derivative products. “Digestive transmission of this type of influenza has not been recorded so far,” he said.

Finally, the Secretary of Access to Health referred to the most important measures to take into account in the event of any communicable disease, such as frequent hand washing. “You must also take into account the proper cooking of food and consult a doctor before the appearance of any symptoms if you had any direct contact with birds as a history,” she said.