The Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative recently reported that the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus (VIA H5N1) was found in the brain of a black bear.
This adult female black bear exhibited unusual behavior in June 2022 at Forillon National Park in Gaspésie, Quebec.
Parks Canada staff found the bear lying in a ditch, breathing weakly and unresponsive to sound stimuli. Convulsions and spasms have also been observed.
Due to its condition, the animal was anesthetized by Parks Canada employees and then euthanized for humanitarian reasons.
The results of the examinations indicate that the neurological signs observed in this bear were due to inflammation of the brain caused by infection with the H5N1 AIV virus.
“To our knowledge, this is the first case of a fatal H5N1 virus infection in a bear,” Parks Canada staff wrote on August 30, 2022.
This virus, which appeared in North America at the end of 2021, has so far been associated with significant mortalities in several species of wild birds.
So far, three groups of birds have been particularly affected by this virus: waterfowl (geese and ducks), scavenger birds (gulls, vultures, corvids and bald eagles) and colonial seabirds (eider ducks). down and northern gannets).
Although much less common than infections in birds, fatal infections have also been reported in mammals, including red foxes, raccoons, striped skunks and harbor seals.
Additionally, H5N1 AIV infections were documented in May and June in the region in several seabirds, including gannets, razorbills, surf scoters, and common guillemots.
Although the risk of transmission of this highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HAPI) to humans is low, it is recommended not to approach, and especially not to touch, a sick or dead animal.
With recent detections of the Eurasian H5 strain of HPAI in wild birds and domestic poultry in the United States in 2022, bird owners should review their biosecurity practices and remain vigilant to protect poultry and pet birds of this disease, says the US Department of Animal Agriculture. and Phytosanitary Inspection Service.
As of August 30, 2022, 39 states have reported the loss of over 40 million birds to HAPI infections this year.
Additionally, there was a HAPI infection in a man living in Montrose County, Colorado in April 2022.
Since 2003, several countries have reported more than 860 human infections with HPAI A(H5N1) viruses, with approximately 53% of these cases resulting in death.
The US government has approved a vaccine against one type of bird flu virus and may distribute it in the event of a person-to-person bird flu outbreak.
The US FDA has cleared CSL Seqirus’ Audenz monovalent cell vaccine.
Additionally, the FDA says annual flu shots do not protect people against avian influenza (bird flu) infections.
More avian flu news is posted at PrecisionVaccinations.com/Avian.
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