Avian influenza is suspected in Brampton and the Town of Caledon after a number of dead birds have been found in recent days. Avian flu is primarily transmitted through the wild bird population but can be transmitted to commercial poultry and other mammals. Rarely, avian influenza may also spread to people. The risk of bird-to-human transmission is low.
Testing is being conducted by the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative to determine the cause of death in each of the two events. In Brampton, the birds were found at Professor’s Lake. Within the Town of Caledon, the dead birds were found in a pond near Coleraine Dr. and Harvest Moon Dr. and Town staff have closed a nearby trail.
To limit the spread of avian flu and protect the health and safety of residents and pets, Peel Public Health is providing the following advice:
- If possible, avoid handling ill or dead birds or animals. If handling is necessary, wear gloves, place the dead bird or animal in a doubled plastic bag and tie it closed then wash your hands thoroughly.
- Call your local municipality and/or the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative if dead birds or animals are spotted.
- Consider removing backyard bird feeders and bird baths. If they cannot be fully removed, place as far away from family pets as possible and clean with 10% bleach at least once every two weeks.
- Keep family pets away from birds and fecal matter.
- Keep cats indoors and dogs on leash to limit the potential for an encounter with an infected bird.
- Do not feed family pets raw meat from game birds or poultry.
- Do not feed or otherwise interact with the birds.
- Pet birds, if not normally kept indoors, should be restricted to the indoors.
- Residents that raise backyard chickens, own pet birds or maintain other flocks, should monitor them for signs of avian flu and follow preventive actions recommended by the Province and Government of Canada.
- Do not attempt to retrieve or help birds from seemingly frozen bodies of water as ice and water conditions are unsafe.
- If you become ill with influenza symptoms within 10 days after handling wild birds or other wildlife, see your health care provider. Inform your health care provider that you have been in contact with wildlife.
“While avian influenza is a threat to birds, the risk to humans is very low. Most cases of human avian flu have been traced to handling infected poultry or their droppings. Residents are asked to follow the recommended guidance to limit the spread of avian flu and protect the health and safety of residents and pets” said Dr. Nicholas Brandon, Acting Medical Officer of Health, Peel Public Health
The risk of avian flu spreading to humans is extremely rare. There are no indicators of increasing risk to the general public at this time. Additional details will be provided as they become available. More information on avian flu can be found on the Ministry of Health’s website.
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