Avian influenza confirmed in local flock
The Grey Bruce Health Unit, along with federal and provincial partners, is investigating after birds located at the Harrison Park bird sanctuary in Owen Sound tested positive for avian influenza (H5N1).
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), which responds to and leads investigations into cases of avian flu in Canada, received laboratory confirmation of the virus in the flock on Monday. The CFIA alerted the Ontario Ministry of Health, which, in turn, notified Public Health.
No human cases of the virus have been reported at this time.
“The risk to human health from avian influenza outbreaks is considered low,” says Grey Bruce Health Unit Physician Consultant Dr. Rim Zayed.
“Human infections of avian flu are rare and typically occur only in people who have had close, unprotected contact with infected birds or contaminated bedding, feed or water troughs. Avian influenza also doesn’t spread easily from person to person.”
The Grey Bruce Health Unit is following up with Owen Sound Parks staff who had or may have had contact with infected birds. Contacts are being advised to self-monitor for influenza-type symptoms for 10 days after their last contact with the birds. If symptoms develop, the contacts may be directed for testing and/or treatment.
Public Health will continue to collaborate with and assist its partners on this situation as needed.
The CFIA has increased biosecurity protocols around the infected premise at Harrison Park and agency staff is limiting people from entering or exiting the site.
Avian influenza, a reportable disease under Canada’s Health of Animals Regulations, is a contagious viral infection that can affect several species of food-producing birds as well as pet birds and wild birds.
Wild birds, especially waterfowl, are natural reservoirs of influenza viruses. They are not normally affected by the disease, but can still transmit it to domestic birds.
For More Information:
To connect with the medical officer of health or the program manager, please contact:
Denis Langlois, Communications Co-ordinator,
Grey Bruce Health Unit,
519-376-9420 or 1-800-263-3456 ext. 1315,