Avian influenza is a highly contagious viral disease that affects both domestic and wild birds, and marine mammals. There are many strains of this disease, and whilst some do not result in any clinical signs, the current strain circulating in wild marine mammal and bird populations worldwide is a high pathogenicity avian influenza (HPAI) that can cause severe clinical signs and possible high mortality rates. HPIA is transmitted through the faeces and respiratory secretions, and because of its resistant nature it has the ability to survive for long periods when temperatures are low on hard surfaces.
HPAI H5N1 has now been reported in the CCAMLR Convention Area. Relevant authorities are working to ensure that protocols are in place to prevent transmission to humans in the Convention Area, and to prevent the spread of the virus to other areas/species in Antarctica through human activity.
CCAMLR has consulted with avian health experts from Members, the World Organisation for Animal Health, the SCAR Antarctic Wildlife Health Network, and ACAP, and has coordinated its response with COMNAP, IAATO, MAPPPD and SCAR. We offer below a compilation of resources for those interested in learning more about HPAI, monitoring HPAI distribution, or seeking guidelines for handling and disposing of seabird and marine mammals encountered during activities in the Convention Area.
Specific guidelines for vessels operating in the Convention Area are available here:
Additional Web resources
- World Organization for Animal Health (https://www.woah.org/en/disease/avian-influenza/)
- Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (https://www.acap.aq/resources/disease-threats/avian-flu)
- SCAR HPAI webpage (https://scar.org/resources/hpai-monitoring-project/)
- Visual display of all cases via MAPPPD (http://www.penguinmap.com/mapppd/)
- COMNAP program guidance (https://www.comnap.aq/heightened-risk-of-hpai-in-antarctica)