Eight skunks that were found dead in late February in Richmond and Vancouver have tested positive for avian influenza.
The skunks were found in residential areas of the two cities and were originally thought to have been deliberately poisoned.
However, testing revealed the skunks were infected with the same strain of H5N1 avian influenza that caused the deaths of wildlife and domestic poultry in the province since the April 2022 outbreak began.
According to the Provincial Health Services Authority, the skunks may have contracted the virus by eating infected wild birds.
The organization said influenza in skunks is considered to be a low risk to human health, but the risk for pets could be raised.
Anyone who finds a dead skunk in Richmond or Vancouver should leave the animal where it is and contact the B.C. Wildlife Health Program at 250 751-7246.
Since April 2022, wildlife infected by avian influenza in B.C. has included more than 20 species of wild birds, as well as two skunks and one fox found in rural areas of the province, according to the health authority.