Case of Avian Influenza Confirmed in Southern Ontario

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Today, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) confirmed a case of avian influenza in a poultry flock in Southern Ontario.

Avian influenza is not a threat to food safety but impacts domesticated and wild birds, including chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, ducks, geese and guinea fowl. Ontario poultry and eggs are safe to eat when, as always, proper handling and cooking takes place. Avian influenza is not a public health concern for people that are not in routine contact with infected birds. People working with poultry should take additional precautions and are strongly encouraged to follow all public health guidelines and maintain strict biosecurity.

Biosecurity remains the best tool for poultry producers and small flock owners to protect their flocks from avian influenza. The Ontario government continues to work with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, who is leading the disease response and the poultry industry to support producers and small flock owners and strengthen the high levels of biosecurity already implemented to reduce further spread of the disease. Farmers and small flock owners looking for resources and best practices to enhance biosecurity can visit: www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/livestock/vet/facts/avian_influenza.htm

Clinical signs of influenza can vary and may include a drop in water and feed consumption, decreased egg production, soft-shelled eggs, coughing and sneezing, diarrhea, bruising of the limbs, listlessness or a sudden increase in mortality rates. Anyone who suspects illness in their flock should contact their veterinarian immediately.

Any farmer that is struggling with the weight of these stresses is urged to reach out and talk to a family member, friend, or health care professional. Free mental health counselling is available to all farmers and farm families by calling 1-866-267-6255.

Farmers and processors needing more information or resources can contact OMAFRA’s Agricultural Information Contact Centre’s toll-free number at 1-877-424-1300.