Saxony-Anhalt: West Nile Virus detected in snowy owls at Magdeburg Zoo

Halle (dpa/sa) - The West Nile virus has been detected in a snowy owl in the Zoological Garden in Magdeburg.

Saxony-Anhalt: West Nile Virus detected in snowy owls at Magdeburg Zoo

Halle (dpa/sa) - The West Nile virus has been detected in a snowy owl in the Zoological Garden in Magdeburg. The Saxony-Anhalt State Office for Consumer Protection announced on Monday in Halle that this was the first case in Germany this year. The snowy owl chick died during veterinary treatment. A molecular biological examination confirmed the infection.

Originally from Africa and transmitted by mosquitoes, the virus first appeared in the country in 2018. According to the state office, it was also the first case nationwide at that time. The West Nile virus was also detected in Saxony-Anhalt in 2019 and 2020. The annual evidence indicated that the virus had now become endemic in the region.

Birds, but also horses and humans, contract the West Nile virus. Owls, raptors, corvids and many species of songbirds are considered to be particularly susceptible to the virus. In humans, the infection is mostly inconspicuous or mild. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), around 20 percent of those infected developed a feverish illness that lasted three to six days. Only about one in 100 infected people becomes seriously ill. There is no vaccination.

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