The disaster scientists feared has happened: Bird flu found in Antarctica

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The disaster scientists feared has happened: Bird flu found in Antarctica

Scientists have encountered the H5N1 bird flu virus for the first time on the Antarctic mainland. The virus was detected in two dead gulls and is feared to spread to penguin colonies.

Scientists have confirmed that bird flu has reached the Antarctic mainland for the first time. The H5N1 virus was found in two dead puffins, known as ‘skua’, near the Argentine research station Primavera Base on the Antarctic peninsula.

According to data from the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research, suspected cases were reported in brown gull, southern puffin and moss gull, also on the Antarctic peninsula.

According to the Spanish government’s report, the virus has reached the continent despite all the distance and natural obstacles.
Only Oceania is the only continent it has not reached

The H5N1 pandemic has killed millions of wild birds worldwide since 2021 and has spread to every continent except Oceania. Bird flu was reported on islands below Antarctica in October last year.

Scientists’ concerns have been realized

While the virus is also spreading on the mainland, researchers say that if the virus starts causing mass die-offs in penguin colonies, it could signal one of the biggest ecological disasters of modern times.

Although a number of wildlife areas have been closed to tourists to limit the spread of the virus, little can be done to stop its spread, scientists said.

They say there is nothing left to be done to limit transmission in wildlife. The outbreak therefore needs to be resolved naturally.


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