On December 20, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (AI), subtype H5N1, on a property dedicated to multi-species displays in the peninsula of ‘Avalon, in the island of Newfoundland and Labrador. The affected establishment does not produce birds for sale.
As the infected birds were on a show farm and no other cases of avian influenza were reported in the vicinity of the property, Canada’s “AI free” status remains in effect in accordance with the guidelines of the the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
Avian influenza naturally circulates in avian wildlife and recent detections of highly pathogenic AI in Europe indicate an even greater risk of the disease in bird flocks in North America this year. It is therefore more important than ever for anyone raising poultry to remain vigilant against AI and to ensure that effective biosecurity measures are in place. Biosecurity is a key tool in preventing the transmission of this disease to poultry in North America.
While this detection is not expected to impact trade, it is a strong reminder that bird flu is spreading globally and anyone with farm animals should adopt good biosecurity habits. Meanwhile, officials from the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, the CFIA and the owner of the infected birds are working together to control this particular situation.
The first tests for the disease were carried out on December 16, 2021 by the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, after the farm suffered the sudden death of birds for several days.
Out of an abundance of caution, the CFIA has quarantined the property and established a 10km zone with movement control measures and enhanced biosecurity to limit any potential spread of the disease.
The CFIA notified the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) of the outbreak. As the infected birds were on a show farm, the detection is considered a non-avian detection according to the OIE definition. Canada’s animal health status as “AI-free” remains in effect. No commercial restrictions are expected as a result of this detection.
The CFIA reminds poultry producers to remain vigilant and apply biosecurity measures at all times.
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