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With bird cases detected locally, the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit raises awareness about Avian Flu

With bird cases present in the region, the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit (HNHU) 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 on a commercial poultry premises in Norfolk County. 

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. To date, no human cases of avian influenza have been detected in Canada. 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. Currently, the risk remains low, and Ontario poultry is safe to eat when using proper cooking times, temperatures, and handling techniques. 

 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. 

 If handling sick or dead wild birds or other wildlife is unavoidable, wear gloves or use a doubled plastic bag and avoid contact with blood, body fluids and feces. Hands should be washed thoroughly with soap and warm water or use hand sanitizer. 

 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.