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With Cases Detected Locally, the HNHU Raises Awareness about Avian Flu

 

With cases present in the region, the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit is reminding the public to be aware of the dangers of avian flu. Avian influenza (AI), commonly known as “bird flu,” is a type “A” influenza virus that can infect domesticated and wild birds, including:

 

  • chickens
  • turkeys
  • pheasants
  • quail
  • ducks
  • geese
  • guinea fowl

 

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has confirmed H5N1 Avian Influenza in Ontario poultry. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has issued a Minister’s Order prohibiting events where the comingling of birds would occur in an effort to reduce the transmission of the virus amongst domestic birds in Ontario. This order is effective April 9th, 2022 and set to expire on May 9, 2022, unless extended.

Avian influenza currently poses a very low human health risk, except for those in close contact with infected birds. Transmission to humans is not common, especially with the current strain detected. However, the more widespread the virus, the greater the risk of it mixing with a human strain to form more serious and easily transmissible influenza. At this time, the risk remains low.

Community members are reminded to avoid handling live or dead wild birds and take precautions when caring for sick animals. Please call the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre at 1-800-567-2033 to report the finding of sick or dead wild birds or visit CWHC-RCSF :: Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative ‘s website.

Community members with backyard poultry or other domestic birds are encouraged to review OMAFRA’s Recommendations for Small Flock Owners and How to prevent and detect disease in small flocks and pet birds or call the CFIA at 226-217-8022.

Ontario poultry is safe to eat. Avian influenza is not a threat to food safety. You should always use proper cooking times, temperatures and handling techniques with poultry, meat and eggs.

For more information and to read the order, please visit OMAFRA’s website.