Canada’s Wild Bird Survey for Avian Influenza is Underway
The 11th annual Wild Bird Influenza Survey has been launched. Conducted by the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative (CWHC), in partnership with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and other government organizations, the survey aims to detect and track the presence and spread of avian influenza. Canadians are strongly encouraged to help reduce the risk of avian influenza spreading by reporting dead wild bird sightings to the CWHC at 1-866-544-4744.
The CWHC expects to collect and test approximately 1500 dead wild birds across Canada. Live wild birds will also be tested to determine changes in viruses circulating in the wild bird population. Federal and provincial government partners, along with industry members, use the results of the survey to take the necessary steps to reduce the risk of disease transmission to wildlife, domestic birds and humans. The survey supports Canada’s international obligations related to the surveillance and reporting of avian influenza.
During the fall bird migration period, the level of risk for an avian influenza outbreak increases. If the survey detects a virus of concern in wild birds close to a poultry flock, for example, nearby producers would be alerted and heightened surveillance in domestic poultry would be conducted.
Although the disease does not usually affect human health, it can seriously impact the poultry industry. Poultry farmers are reminded to practice a high level of biosecurity to reduce the risk of disease introduction during the fall migration, and to report any suspicious symptoms in their flocks to the CFIA.
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