The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has confirmed the death of Canada Goose as a result of Avian Influenza – H5N1.
CFIA is now advising poultry farmers to be vigilant and implement biosecurity measures at all times.
Since the confirmation of the case, a hobby farm located in Porters Lake has lost almost its entire flock – 59 of the 60 birds – within the past week.
“I’m devastated by this. They were my pets.” says Vicky Winkler, owner of the small hobby farm located outside Halifax.
The virus can be transmitted between humans and animals, although this is rare.
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Sherri Cox is the medical director at the National Wildlife Center and advises against handling wildlife birds.
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“Influenza virus is a virus that mutates quite easily. Think about the human flu and how it changes. So, it can turn into other forms.”
“I don’t think people should panic, but I just think, be careful. Wear your PPE, your gloves, you know, your mask to keep everyone safe,” Cox says.
According to Nova Scotia Agriculture, the recent detection of cases in Newfoundland and Labrador and the Carolinas indicates the presence of the disease in migratory birds and poses a threat to domestic poultry.
In an email to Global News, Jean-Michel Laurin, President and CEO of The Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council, says, “It is important to understand that Avian Influenza is not a foodborne illness and is not transmitted to humans. The result of eating chicken or eggs.
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The virus is mainly spread through the bodily excretion of infected animals and swarming of droplets.
“If you see a sick or dying bird, you don’t want to handle that bird. So, make sure you call the professionals. Hope for Wildlife has a 1-800 number,” says Cox.
Avian flu has previously invaded Europe and the United States. The last outbreak killed about 50 million birds in the United States.
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