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This virus has evolved through its ability to interact with migratory bird populations, which unfortunately have been affected, spreading the disease along its normal route from north to south of the continent. .
What we have experienced over the past 12 months has been an unprecedented situation for the world. Latin America and the Caribbean. Although it was the previous year, Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) The virus has already spread in certain regions, and infected people have already been confirmed in 16 countries. Two people have been infected with the virus on our continent (one in Ecuador and one in Chile), in addition to the 1,250 people who have died or sacrificed their lives to stop the spread of infection in the region. There was a loss of 10,000 birds. Add to this the unprecedented impact of some 30,000 marine mammals and wild birds.
he virus Unfortunately, migratory birds have been influenced by their ability to interact with migratory bird populations, spreading diseases along their normal route from the north to the south of the continent, resulting in particularly severe damage to birds. It is prevalent in domestic birds on farms with low levels of biosecurity.
Despite the efforts of official veterinary authorities in each country, it has become virtually impossible to stop the invasion.That’s why since then Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) We are called to implement an action plan to work together. As a disease that crosses borders, We need to take a regional approach.
Since our inception, we have led this necessary coordination, working with countries that have requested technical assistance. This is in addition to, for example, a technical conference held in Santiago de Chile in March of this year bringing together heads of veterinary institutions from the countries of the region to deal with the emergency situation.
Last July, experts, academics and regional experts also met in Colombia to highlight the interest shown by countries regarding vaccination as a support measure for the prevention and control of HPAI, and the decision-making and implementation of this strategy. Dealed with complexity. . A third meeting will be held in December next year to intensify technical discussions on the risks of this new season and enhance lessons learned in order to coordinate actions in the coming months.
Can we stop another wave in the region? Probably not.
However, if there is any certainty from this, FAO, that if we work together, we will be better prepared. That is the only way to tackle this huge global challenge. All our efforts are effectively aimed at interpreting the epidemiological phenomena of this disease, standardizing biological safety, surveillance and control procedures, and improving technical capabilities.
It is important to ensure the health and welfare of animals and, in turn, the food security of people. the current, Latin America and the Caribbean It produces approximately 20% of the poultry meat and 10% of the eggs consumed worldwide. While science has proven that avian influenza viruses cannot be transmitted to humans through consumption (they should always be cooked well), it is equally true that avian influenza viruses have a significant impact on poultry populations. , which is why it has a direct impact on efforts to ensure food security. Rather than just destroying livelihoods, we move towards zero hunger in our region.
In the coming months, we may face a new phase and further outbreaks in the region. Therefore, while we focus on protecting people’s health and poultry production, we also do not forget about protecting wildlife and species. FAO believes that this concerted effort will bear fruit as we become more prepared than ever and continue to improve to minimize and contain large-scale spread of the disease.
Because of its importance, Kuba Hola To summarize in key terms: Information provided by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), also known as Avian influenza.
How is it communicated?
The most common way the disease is transmitted is through migratory birds, which introduce the virus into their territory.
Can humans also get infected with bird flu?
Yes, the main risk factor for transmission from birds to humans is direct or indirect contact with infected animals or environments contaminated with feces.
For example, it can occur when infected bird carcasses are handled or prepared for consumption.
What are the symptoms of avian influenza in humans?
Symptoms in humans range from mild upper respiratory tract infection (fever and cough) to severe pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (difficulty breathing), shock, and even death.
How is this disease occurring in the Americas?
In January 2023, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) warned of increased detection of avian influenza foci in birds and cases of human infection with avian influenza in 10 countries in the Americas region. Avian influenza A(H5) In South America.
As of epidemiological week 48 of 2022, agricultural authorities in Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, the United States, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela have reported outbreaks.
What do you recommend about Paho?
PAHO/WHO at the time of declaration epidemiological alert In January 2023, it recommended that countries strengthen surveillance of seasonal and zoonotic influenza in animal and human populations. He stressed the importance of controlling infection in birds to prevent the virus from passing on to humans.
Given the increasing spread of infections, he urged countries to take the necessary measures to contain emerging pathogens that could endanger public health.
For surveillance of transmission in humans, monitor for the emergence of influenza-like illness (ILI) or severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) in people exposed to birds (domestic, wild, or captive) infected with influenza virus. He recommended that.
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