Bird flu outbreak spreads across West African migratory route - Natural History Museum

The bird flu pandemic has reached West Africa, after the virus was detected in Senegal and its neighbouring country, The Gambia.

Thousands of birds have already been found dead, raising concerns for the tens of millions of birds that pass through these African countries every year on the East Atlantic Flyway migratory route.

An avian influenza outbreak has been detected in the West African nations of Senegal and The Gambia.

Caused by the highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu, conservationists working in the area are now worried that without more funding to contain the virus it will spread further amongst the millions of birds that move through the region as they migrate between southern Africa and northern Europe.

Already, reports from Senegal suggest that at least 1,552 dead wild birds have been found, while in The Gambia at least 500 dead seabirds have been recorded at Tanji Bird Reserve. The birds found dead have reportedly included great white pelicans, great cormorants, grey-headed gulls, royal terns and the West African crested tern.

In addition to this, hundreds of cases of bird flu have been found in poultry, which has led to the culling of tens of thousands of chickens.

Teams of conservationists in Senegal and The Gambia have been trying to tackle the outbreak in a bid to contain its spread. Their efforts have included collecting as many dead wild birds as possible and burying them. But there is a fear that because the wetlands and coastal marshes where the infected birds have been found are on migratory routes, it might lead to further outbreaks in Europe.

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Posted On: 26/04/2023

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