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Bird Flu Outbreak in South America

by | Feb 1, 2023 | Birding, Nature

A Brown Pelican drying its wings in the southern part of Bonaire. Photographer Tanya Deen

The bird flu outbreak has not reached Bonaire yet.

Currently, there is Avian Influenza, also known as bird flu, in several countries in South America. Avian flu is an infectious disease that can infect wild (water) birds, poultry, and other domestic birds. The virus is not currently on Bonaire, but the veterinary department still wants to ask the people of Bonaire to be wary.

Infection on humans.

The bird flu virus is typically not very contagious to humans, but there are still a few cases where the virus has also infected a human. Therefore, be alert to sick and dead birds.

Symptoms of bird flu.

The disease has various symptoms, including high mortality among birds. At the moment, the virus is prevalent in populations of brown pelicans in Venezuela and Costa Rica, which means there is a risk of further spread in the Caribbean.

What to do?

  • The moment your birds suddenly become ill or die, report this to your trusted vet.
  • Do not transport sick birds or dead birds.
  • Do you see a dead wild bird that was not hit by a vehicle? Please report it to the Veterinary Department. Reports can be made during working hours at +599 715-5300 or +599 717-4800. Outside of office hours, email vet.department@bonairegov.com
  • Take a picture of the location and clearly describe where the bird is located.
  • Do not touch the bird yourself, and do not transport it to the Veterinary Department.

(Source: Bonaire Government)

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Tanya Deen has been living in Bonaire since December 2016. She is a PADI Master Scuba Diver Instructor and enjoys underwater and bird photography. Tanya is the Editor-in-Chief of the Bonaire Insider tourism news blog.
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