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Avian Influenza Outbreak in South America – Prevention Measures Advised for Bonaire

Brown pelican-photo ABC Online Media

KRALENDIJK – Avian Influenza, also known as Bird Flu, has recently made its way into various countries in South America. The contagious disease can affect both wild (water) birds as well as poultry and other domesticated birds.

Although the bird flu virus is normally not highly contagious to humans, there have been a few cases where the virus has also infected a human. The population is therefore warned to be alert in the presence of sick and dead birds.

Symptoms

The disease exhibits various symptoms, including a high death rate among birds. At present, the virus has been found in populations of brown pelicans in Venezuela and Costa Rica, leading to a risk of further spread in the Caribbean.

At present, the virus is not present on Bonaire, but the Veterinary Department is still calling on the population to be vigilant.

What to do in case of suspicion of bird flu? If your own birds suddenly become sick or die, report this to your trusted veterinarian. Do not feed sick birds or dead birds further. In case of observation of a dead wild bird (not hit by a car), report this to the Veterinary Department. This can be done during office hours by calling +599 715 5300/ +599 717 4800 or outside office hours by email at vet.afdeling@bonairegov.com.

Take a picture of the location and provide a clear description of the bird’s location. Do not touch the bird and do not transport it yourself to the Veterinary Department.

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