Yes, avian flu has been confirmed in Antarctica. Specifically, Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N1 has been detected in brown skua populations on Bird Island, South Georgia, marking the first known cases in the Antarctic region. This confirmation came after samples from symptomatic birds and unexplained bird mortalities were tested positive for HPAI H5N1.

The primary means of spreading HPAI is believed to be natural pathways, and it’s likely that the disease was introduced to Bird Island by skuas returning from their migration in South America, where there are a high number of HPAI cases. The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and the Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI) are working closely to monitor the situation and manage the outbreak. They have implemented enhanced biosecurity measures and have suspended most field work involving animal handling at Bird Island to mitigate the spread of the disease.

The presence of avian flu in this region could have serious implications for the local seabird colonies. However, it is difficult to forecast the full impact of HPAI across South Georgia, as patterns of transmission and mortality have been highly variable in other parts of the world.

Expedition cruises continue to visit the region taken great care around landings and disinfecting equipment and muck boots. Some itineraries will have less landings and more zodiac trips as a result and it is best to check with your operator for the lastes information on Avian Flu before you tarvel.

 

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Expedition Cruise Lines List

  This is a list of all the key expedition cruise lines operating globally. With links to their primary websites too. Key: Charter: This means the company does not own any ships but charters them each season so does operate. Expedition Cruise Line Number of ships...