ARCHIVED - Questions and Answers: Avian influenza investigation in Ontario - 2016

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The Investigation

What is the status of the investigation?

The CFIA has mobilized resources in the area of the outbreak. The Agency continues to work closely with the Province of Ontario, the owner of the infected birds, and the poultry industry to manage this outbreak.

What is happening at the affected farm?

The focus of the investigation is to clearly identify the extent of infection around the affected farm. Information gathered through this process will further inform the CFIA's next steps.

How many farms are under quarantine?

The affected farm is under quarantine. Other farms that are considered high risk (e.g. had contact with the infected farm) have been quarantined as a precaution to control disease spread.

Avian influenza control zone

How many farms, in total, were affected by the establishment of both avian influenza control zones?

All premises having poultry on site within the Avian Influenza Control Zones were placed under quarantine. The Agency continues to monitor premises in the surrounding area for any signs of the disease.

Currently there is only one infected premises.

Information for industry

What should poultry farmers in the area be aware of?

Poultry owners are urged to take an active role in protecting their flocks by employing strict biosecurity measures on their property, and immediately reporting any signs of illness.

Poultry farmers have worked closely with the CFIA to develop strong biosecurity protocols that help prevent or slow down the spread of these types of diseases. Biosecurity plans are mandatory for producers in the provincial supply management systems for poultry products.

Information on strain testing

When will testing be completed?

Samples have been tested by the National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease in Winnipeg, and this virus was determined to be a low pathogenic subtype. This means the virus causes mild illness in birds. Further testing by the CFIA has determined it to be the H5N2 subtype, which is a type of North American origin that we have seen circulating in previous outbreaks.

Human health

Is there a risk to human health for the farmers or others who have come in close contact with sick animals?

Avian influenza does not pose a risk to food safety when poultry and poultry products are properly handled and cooked. Avian influenza rarely affects humans that do not have consistent contact with infected birds. For further details on human health risk, please contact public health officials with the Province of Ontario or the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Do you have biosecurity and bio containment protocols in place for staff coming into the farms?

Yes. Anyone entering a farm that has been placed under quarantine must follow strict biosecurity protocols.

Backyard flocks/Non-commercial premises

I have backyard birds. What can I do to protect them?

Where possible, restrict the movement of birds on your premises in order to avoid contact with wild birds, including access to ponds or bodies of water known to be used by wild birds.

Monitor your birds closely for signs of disease and call your veterinarian if you have any concerns.

The CFIA has published guidance materials for small flock owners.

International implications

What has been the response from international partners regarding trade implications?

Some of our international partners have imposed trade restrictions on poultry products from Ontario. We are working very closely with key international partners to discuss any specific restriction concerns or requirements.

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