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Uruguay - Study indicates that avian influenza would have spread in the region by contagion of migratory wild birds

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  • Uruguay - Study indicates that avian influenza would have spread in the region by contagion of migratory wild birds

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    Study indicates that avian flu would have spread in the region due to infection by migrant wild birds

    In the Faculty of Sciences, the Microorganism Genetics group (Evolutionary Genetics Section) in collaboration with the Virology Laboratory of the Laboratory Directorate (DILAVE) of the MGAP and the Fauna division of the Ministry of the Environment, have recently published a work on influenza avian in Uruguay.

    The publication, published in the international journal Viruses, describes the genomic characterization of influenza in wild and backyard birds from Uruguay. The sequencing of the genomes was carried out at the Genomic Platform of the Faculty of Sciences using massive sequencing (Illumina technology).
    The results indicate that the Uruguayan strains are highly pathogenic H5N1 variants that have high similarity to strains circulating in South America, particularly Chile and Argentina. The entry into Uruguay probably occurred through wild birds that migrate along the coast of the Pacific Ocean and transmit the virus to other birds that move in the region. It is the first time that strains of this type enter Uruguay and several South American countries, constituting a significant risk for ecosystems and the poultry industry.

    Furthermore, the detection of some cases of infection in human beings supports its analysis within the concept of “One Health”. This approach involves considering the problems generated by this pathogen from different points of view, including human and animal health, the health of ecosystems, and the interaction between all these factors. We must also consider climate changes, including the drought that part of our country has experienced, which alters the distribution of waterfowl, affecting their well-being and increasing their susceptibility to different diseases. The work supports the recommendations made by official organizations to avoid contact of backyard birds with wild birds. Consideration should also be given to minimizing human contact with wild birds, particularly aquatic birds.

    The research of this multidisciplinary group continues with the sequencing of the genomes of new cases in birds and mammals (coatis and sea lions) that have occurred in our territory.

    The publication can be freely accessed at:

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    -Nelson Mandela