Spanish Zoo Closes As West Nile Virus Kills Vultures

Story By: Amanda MoralesSub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash

A zoo in southern Spain has closed after two vultures who died were found to have been infected with the West Nile virus.

The Jerez Zoo located in the municipality of Jerez de la Frontera, in the province of Cadiz which is in the autonomous community of Andalusia, in southwestern Spain, declared the closure of its doors until further notice on Friday 21th August.

The closure was confirmed in a statement by the zoo on its Facebook page. (https://bit.ly/3aTA7Mc)

Newsflash

They said the decision was made after the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food, which is the body in charge of animal matters in Spain, confirmed the two dead birds, a bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) and a cinereous vulture (Aegypius monachus), tested positive for the virus.

The zoo will remain closed until the Andalusian health authorities confirm its opening does not represent a risk to public health, and once reopened what the appropriate protocol is for visitors.

The spokesperson from the zoo, Ruben Perez, made a statement which was also repeated on their page saying the decision is “a preventive measure even though there is no evidence of epidemiological risks.”

According to a report from the Andalusian Counseling of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food published on 21st August there are also 19 positive cases of Nile fever in horses confirmed in the community.

Meanwhile, the last figures from Andalusian Counseling of Health alert of 19 cases of viral meningoencephalitis which is caused by the West Nile virus in its severest form in the province of Seville, in the autonomous community of Andalusia. (https://bit.ly/2Qm90Qx)

The 19 patients have been tested and 12 of them have been confirmed to have West Nile fever.

According to the Andalusian Counseling of Health 17, of these cases are hospitalized, seven of them in the intensive care unit.

@zoobotanico.jerez/Newsflash

The West Nile virus is a disease that is transmitted by mosquitoes, mostly species of Culex, and can affect people as well as birds, horses, and other mammals.

The appearance of these outbreaks of the disease is due to the particular geographical location of Andalusia as a passage for migratory birds, primary hosts of the virus.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 80 per cent of infected people do not experience symptoms.

In the most serious diagnosis, it leads to encephalitis or meningitis, which can lead to brain damage and death.

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