14ymedio, Havana, 7 February 2023 — The National Animal Health Center (Cenasa) has released a brief note in which it officially declares, before the World Organization for Animal Health (WHOA), the presence of avian influenza in Cuba.
The entity, linked to the Ministry of Agriculture, reported that “the virus was detected in wild birds of the Zoological Garden of Havana, located on Avenida 26, municipality of Plaza de la Revolución.”
Cenasa assured that “the corresponding health measures have been implemented to contain the virus, such as quarantine and the temporary closure of the Zoo,” in addition to keeping the population “informed about the evolution of this event.”
Health authorities recommend immediately informing the official veterinary service of any locality if an increase in the mortality of farmed or wild birds is perceived.
Last December, Cenasa had already warned about the possible appearance of viral infection on the Island and clarified that “since 2021 the animal health situation is quite complex due to the appearance of multiple outbreaks around the world.” Faced with this, he advised extreme surveillance mechanisms to prevent it from reaching the country, although he considered the threat as serious.
Among Cenasa’s recommendations were avoiding the contact of wild birds with poultry breeding, implementing extreme biosecurity measures in poultry facilities and prohibiting the transfer of sick birds. The institution also advised hunters not to take captured birds home and to disinfect everything used in their capture.
The World Health Organization then warned that some subtypes of the virus (H5 and H7) of type A can be highly pathogenic and cause serious disease in birds that can spread quickly, resulting in high mortality rates in different species.
Although it’s uncommon, certain strains of highly pathogenic avian influenza have the ability to infect humans, representing a threat to public health. The main risk factor is direct or indirect contact with infected animals or with environments and surfaces contaminated by feces.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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