Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Wild Birds in Ontario – CWHC ON/NU Update April 10, 2022
Since the first confirmed report of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAIV) in a red-tailed hawk in Ontario on March 21, 2022, the CWHC has been receiving an increased number of calls, emails, and online reports of dead wild birds throughout southern Ontario. Recently cases of HPAIV affecting poultry farms have also been detected in south and central Ontario. The increase in reports of dead or sick wild birds may be due, in part, to heightened awareness of HPAIV, but we think it likely also reflects an increase in the number of dead and sick wild birds on the landscape.
The CWHC ON/NU is working with the public, and partners at Northern Development, Mines Natural Resources and Forestry (NDMNRF) and Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), to obtain these carcasses for HPAIV testing. Testing allows us to track the species and locations affected by HPAIV and will also allow us to detect changes in the number of HPAIV cases over time. This information can be used to better assess risk for wild birds, poultry producers, and public health.
Avian influenza is a reportable disease and suspect cases must be reported and sent to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for confirmatory testing. As of April 10th, 2022, we have 4 confirmed cases of HPAIV in wild birds in Ontario, from areas near Kingston, Ottawa, Point Pelee, and New Hamburg. The first case was a red-tailed hawk from New Hamburg, which was admitted to a wildlife rehabilitation centre with severe neurological signs (unable to stand on its own). The second case was a redhead duck, which was found dead on a floating platform in the Cataraqui River. The third case was a red-breasted merganser, which washed up on a beach in Point Pelee National Park and was part of a die-off of approximately 60 red-breasted mergansers. The fourth case was a Canada goose, which was exhibiting neurological signs in Ottawa adjacent to the Rideau River. As was seen in Atlantic Canada, HPAIV is affecting a variety of wild bird species, including, water birds, raptors, and scavengers.
Wild bird surveillance in Ontario is ongoing and relies on your reports. If you encounter a sick or dead wild bird in Ontario or Nunavut, please contact the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative by phone (866-673-4781), email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or report online. For information about who to contact in other provinces and territories, please see.
Submitted by CWHC ON/NU
Claire Jardine and Brian Stevens
For addition information about avian influenza please visit:
Human Health and Safety, Handling and Consumption Guidance.
Wild birds and avian influenza – Handling guidelines – Public Health Agency of Canada
Avian Influenza and Wild Birds
Avian influenza in wild birds and avian influenza – Environment and Climate Change Canada
Avian Influenza and Domestic Poultry and Pet Birds
How to prevent and detect disease in backyard flocks and pet birds – Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Avian Influenza Information – Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
For updates regarding the spread of avian influenza and HPAI outbreaks see the following websites:
Canada – http://www.cwhc-rcsf.ca/avian_influenza_biweekly_reports.php. You can also receive automatic updates via email by sending a request to email@example.com