The Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative (CWHC) has confirmed dead geese in Caledon tested positive for avian influenza – also known as bird flu.
Caledon’s Municipal Law Enforcement division followed up on reports of dead geese in a storm water pond in Bolton on Friday, March 17. CWHC tested the specimens and avian influenza was confirmed to be the cause of death.
“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,” said Dr. Nicholas Brandon, Acting Medical Officer of Health at Peel Public Health. “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.”
In a statement from the Feather Board Command Centre – which represents Ontario’s poultry commodity boards – Incident Commander Dr. Harold Kloeze advises there is no food safety risk and that Canadian poultry products are safe for consumption.
Take precautions to help prevent the spread of Avian Flu
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. It’s recommended by the Public Health Agency of Canada that members of the public should not handle sick or dead wild birds or other wildlife, as they may be infected with diseases that can spread to humans. Pets should also be kept away from sick or dead wildlife and be kept on leashes. To help stop the potential spread, Caledon Animal Services discourages the use of bird feeders and recommends removal of existing ones to limit transmission of the virus. As well, cats should be kept indoors and birdbaths should be removed.
What is Avian Flu?
Avian flu is a viral infection that spreads among birds. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, wild birds in Canada and throughout the world are natural carriers of avian influenza viruses. Although some wild birds may get sick and die, others can be infected and still appear healthy. Avian influenza can spread to domestic poultry and can sometimes spread to mammals, such as foxes, skunks and mink, who may eat infected birds.
How to report suspected Avian Flu
The public is asked to report any sick or dead wildlife on public property by calling 311. The Town does not provide service to private properties. Residents should contact Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative to report sick or dead wildlife on private property (1-866-673-4781).
- Recommendations for the Public: Public Health Agency of Canada
- General information on avian influenza: Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative
- Information for poultry owners including livestock and small flocks: Canadian Food Inspection Agency/Animal Health
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