Avian flu in wild birds suspected in Manitoba

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The Manitoba government is investigating a suspected case of avian influenza in wild birds.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/04/2022 (422 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The Manitoba government is investigating a suspected case of avian influenza in wild birds.

The agriculture and natural resources departments are testing samples from several suspect birds near Waskada, in southwestern Manitoba, and a single sample collected in the Dauphin area, for avian influenza H5N1.

That strain tends to inflict disease on birds more than other variants, but it has not been documented to have spread to humans, and experts don’t expect it to do so.

CP
This season, roughly 260,000 birds have been euthanized or killed by the virus in Canada, which could put pressure on the cost of eggs and poultry. (Charlie Neibergall / The Associated Press files)
CP This season, roughly 260,000 birds have been euthanized or killed by the virus in Canada, which could put pressure on the cost of eggs and poultry. (Charlie Neibergall / The Associated Press files)

The strain has been confirmed in more than 20 U.S. states, including North Dakota and Minnesota which are on the route for spring migratory birds who return to Manitoba.

In releasing the news Thursday, the province said it will update the public in the coming days as confirmatory diagnostic testing is being completed.

On Monday, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said there has been unprecedented spread in bird flu globally during this winter-spring season, with cases detected in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Alberta.

“It’s quite a devastating disease,” the agency’s chief veterinary officer, Dr. Mary-Jane Ireland, told media last month.

“Infected birds can shed the virus in their saliva, their natal secretions and their feces,” she said, noting that wild birds can easily infect open-air chicken coops.

This season, roughly 260,000 birds have been euthanized or killed by the virus in Canada, which could put pressure on the cost of eggs and poultry.

The province is asking the public to avoid touching dead birds, and to use gloves, masks, goggles and plastic bags if they need to move one.

“Hunters should avoid eating birds that are visibly ill,” the province says.

Manitoba is asking the public to report large amounts of dead birds by calling 1-800-782-0076, particularly if they find a cluster of six or more dead waterfowl (e.g., ducks, geese); any number of dead raptors or avian scavengers (e.g., ravens, crows, gulls); or more than 20 dead birds of any species.

dylan.robertson@freepress.mb.ca

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