Honduras is the latest Latin American country where the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has been confirmed.

According to a report from the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH), Honduran animal health officials were notified on December 27 that sick and dead brown pelicans were found on the beach  of the municipality of La Ceiba.

Tests were conducted at both a Honduran national laboratory and the National Veterinary Services laboratory in Ames, Iowa, United States, and it was confirmed on February 3 that the birds had been affected by an H5N1 variant of HPAI.

The virus was confirmed in 43 of the pelicans, 41 of which had died. The other two birds were euthanized, and the carcasses were buried.

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A focal area, containment area and surveillance area have been established. Pelican carcasses have been buried. Likewise, serological sampling has been conducted in areas of greatest risk of exposure of backyard poultry in both the containment and surveillance zones, a total of 432 samples have been collected and the results have been negative. To date, only wild birds are affected, specifically brown pelicans.

Other cases in Latin America

To date, HPAI has been confirmed in the following South American countries: Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela and Chile. However, of those countries, only Peru and Ecuador have reported confirmed cases in commercial poultry farms.

Elsewhere in Latin America, HPAI has been confirmed in commercial poultry farms in Mexico, as well as in wild birds in Panama. However, in Panama, it has only been confirmed in wild birds, according to the WOAH. Mexico has had 18 cases, with the WOAH reporting that the most recent case was confirmed in a commercial layer flock oof 200,000 birds in San Miguel el Alto, which is in the in the state of Jalisco.

Read our ongoing coverage of the global avian influenza outbreak.