The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has confirmed the death of a Canada Goose as a result of Avian Influenza — H5N1.
The CFIA is now advising poultry farmers to be vigilant and to apply biosecurity measures at all times.
Since the confirmation of the case, a hobby farm located in Porters Lake has lost nearly their entire flock — 59 of 60 birds within the past week.
“I’m devastated by this. They were my pets.” says Vikki Winkler, the owner of the small hobby farm located outside of Halifax.
The virus can be transmitted between humans and animals, although that is rare.
Sherri Cox is the medical director at the National Wildlife Centre and advises against handling wildlife birds.
“Influenza virus is a virus that mutates quite easily. Think about human flu and how it mutates. So, it can mutate into other forms.”
“I don’t think people should panic, but I simply think, be careful. Wear your PPE, your gloves, you know, your mask to keep everyone safe,” says Cox.
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, the president and CEO of The Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council says, “It is important to understand that Avian Influenza is not a food-borne disease and is not passed on to humans as the result of eating poultry or eggs.
The virus is mainly spread through flocks from bodily excretions and droppings from infected animals.
“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.
The Avian Flu has previously invaded Europe and the United States. The last outbreak killed nearly 50 million birds in the United States.