Notice to Industry - Strengthen On-Farm Biosecurity During Wild Bird Migration

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Ottawa, April 17, 2015: Wild migratory birds are known carriers of the avian influenza (AI) virus. These birds pose a significant risk to poultry along migration routes. The detection of AI in British Columbia and Ontario and in some states along the Mississippi and Pacific Flyways in the United States are a clear indication that AI viruses are still active within the wild bird population.

Anyone that has contact with birds though commercial farming, backyard flocks or hobby farms, and/or provides services to poultry producers (e.g. poultry transporters, feed providers, catching crews, etc.), is encouraged to practice enhanced biosecurity procedures.

The National Avian On-Farm Biosecurity Standard and the Poultry Service Industry Biosecurity Guide found online at www.inspection.gc.ca/biosecurity offer basic information on farm-level biosecurity. Poultry keepers and service providers are also encouraged to refer to information provided by provincial ministries of agriculture and national and provincial poultry producer organizations which may be available online, in print or though extension specialists.

Biosecurity practices include:

  • Protecting poultry feed and water from coming into contact with wild birds - particularly ducks and other wild waterfowl.
  • Controlling the movement of people, live birds, equipment and vehicles on to, and off of, the farm.
  • Routinely and frequently watching for signs of disease. Early detection is crucial to limiting the severity of an AI outbreak. Early signs may include behavioural changes.

Poultry producers and bird owners can help identify wild bird viruses circulating in their area by contacting the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative at 1-866-544-4744 if a dead wild bird is found on their property. Reporting dead waterfowl is of particular importance because they are known to carry a variety of AI strains. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) may alert poultry producers in the area if AI viruses of concern are found.

The CFIA, together with Canadian poultry producers, conduct AI surveillance in commercial flocks under the Canadian Notifiable Avian Influenza Surveillance System (CanNAISS). If AI viruses of concern are found in commercial flocks, the CFIA will alert industry and take action to limit the spread of disease.

Commercial producers, backyard flock owners and bird keepers should immediately contact their veterinarian, the provincial ministry of agriculture, or a local CFIA office if they suspect their birds may be infected with AI.

For more information on AI, including signs and symptoms, visit the CFIA website.

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