Scientific Papers

Pacific and Atlantic sea lion mortality caused by highly pathogenic Avian Influenza A(H5N1) in South America


We describe the evolution of the outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) A(H5N1) in sea lions (Otaria flavescens) of South America. At least 24,000 sea lions died in Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil between January-October 2023. The most plausible route of infection is cohabiting with or foraging on infected birds. However, we urge a detailed evaluation of the sea lions actual source of infection given that the concomitant massive wild bird mortalities registered in the Pacific Ocean did not occur in the Atlantic Ocean.