Following the confirmation of reported cases of avian flu in the north of Chile, Public Health ministry officials visited the area over the weekend where hundreds of dead pelicans have been found, pointing out that so far there is no evidence of the bird flu contagion of humans and calling on people to avoid contact with dead or sick birds.
The highly pathogenic virus was detected in pelicans in the cities of Iquique and Antofagasta, and samples have been taken for further analysis to specialized labs belonging to the Chilean Agriculture and Livestock Service, SAG.
Ivan Rios, head of the Epidemiology Vigilance of Transmissible Diseases said that although the influenza virus H5N1 can have an impact on humans, the risk of transmission has only been confirmed among those exposed to the manipulation of dead birds.
Currently there is no evidence of transmission among humans, thus no need to become alarmed but it is essential to remain alert and not manipulate dead birds, underlined Chilean sanitary officials.
As to how identify of avian flu cases, SAG pointed out that the symptomlogy of infected birds is clearly noticed on its nervous effects, birds walking around clumsily wandering with no direction, or coordination, and in areas where they do not normally act.
Respiratory secretion is also common but far more difficult to determine, thus the importance of not manipulating sick or dead birds with such symptoms and immediately report any suspicions. SAG has offered several phone numbers to report cases or e-mail to email@example.com.