Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) has been confirmed in brown skua populations
on Bird Island, South Georgia
Following reports of several potentially symptomatic birds and unexplained mortality by British Antarctic Survey (BAS) staff, testing at the Animal and Plant Health Agency laboratories in Weybridge has been confirmed the presence of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in brown skua populations on Bird Island, South Georgia. This are the first confirmed cases of HPAI in the Antarctic region.
The primary means of spread of HPAI is through natural pathways and it is likely from birds returning from their migration on the South American continent where the disease is widespread. On South Georgia the Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI) has a tiered response in place to monitor and manage the outbreak. The most recent version of these protocols can be found in our Biosecurity Handbook.
GSGSSI and BAS continue to work together to monitor the spread of the disease and its impact on the Territory’s wildlife.