Peterborough Public Health Investigating Local Flock with Cases of Avian Flu
Written by Comms Team, April 4, 2022
Risk to Human Health is Low
Peterborough Public Health (PPH) is currently investigating a confirmed report of avian influenza (H5N1) discovered in a local flock located in Selwyn Township. This is the fifth confirmed report of avian influenza on an Ontario farm over the past few weeks.
“The risk to human health remains low and we are not aware of any local human cases at this time,” said Dr. Thomas Piggott, Medical Officer of Health. “The virus does not easily cross from birds to humans, and the current strain is listed as being of ‘lower than normal’ concern for spreading to humans.”
Dr. Piggott stated PPH is working closely with provincial and federal partners, including the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) on the investigation.
In March 2022, HPAI H5N1 virus was detected in Ontario in wild and commercial poultry. Its spread has been primarily attributed to the migration of infected waterfowl.
Avian influenza is a viral disease that affects mostly domestic poultry and wild birds such as geese, ducks, and shore birds. Wild birds, especially waterfowl, are a natural reservoir for mild strains of avian influenza. The highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) strain H5N1 is known to kill both wild birds and commercial poultry.
Residents should not touch a wild bird, including waterfowl, that is sick, injured or dead. Report any sick or dead birds (including waterfowl), to the Ontario Regional Centre of the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative at (866) 673-4781.
Those with backyard chickens or other domestic birds can get more information related to prevention and detection of disease in backyard flocks and pet birds that is available here or by calling the CFIA at 226-217-8022.
Transmission of avian influenza to people from the consumption of undercooked eggs or poultry is unlikely. As a general practice, food safety measures should always be practiced when handling poultry and egg products such as washing hands before and after food handling, keeping products separate to prevent cross-contamination, cleaning and sanitizing all surfaces and fully cooking poultry products.
For further information, please contact:
705-743-1000, ext. 391