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Stratford warns about feeding birds after swan dies of avian flu

A swan creates ripples on the Avon river as the sun sets in Stratford, Ont., Monday May 28, 2007. CP PHOTO/Dave Chidley

The City of Stratford has issued a warning about feeding birds in the area after one of its swans recently died after contracting the H5N1 avian flu.

“Sadly, the City lost one of its young swans earlier this month, and testing has now confirmed that it died of Avian Influenza,” a statement from the city read.

Read more: Canada’s food industry making adjustments amid large bird flu outbreak

“Several wild turkey vultures along the Avon River in Stratford, as well as a bald eagle in nearby St. Marys have also died recently as a result of the virus.”

Stratford says hand feeding the waterfowl causes them to gather around food sources so it asking that people refrain from feeding them.

In addition, the city says local businesses have agreed to stop selling packaged food for the swans.

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“Waterfowl are more prone to Avian Influenza, and City staff are monitoring closely for illness along the river, working with our veterinarian and following the guidance of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency,” the release explained.

Stratford is also asking anyone who finds sick, injured or dead swans in the area to call its parks, forestry and cemetery manager at 519-271-0250 extension 246.

Read more: Hamilton Public Health confirms avian flu case tied to dead vulture found in Dundas

It is also warning people not to touch dead, injured or sick birds if they come across them as there is a small risk of transmission from birds to other animals.

It also provided a list of symptoms of avian flu for people to watch out for, including the following:

  • nervousness, tremors or lack of co-ordination
  • swelling around the head, neck and eyes
  • lack of energy or movement
  • coughing, gasping for air or sneezing
  • diarrhea
  • sudden death

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