The Weather Network – Rapid spread of bird flu is a ‘global concern’: report

Wednesday, April 27, 2022, 3:20 p.m. – “This is a powerful reminder that bird flu is spreading across the world and that anyone with farm animals should practice good biosecurity habits.

Following recent outbreaks of H5N1 – or bird flu – in Canada and the United States, the virus is “rapidly becoming a global concern”, according to a new report published this week by Science.

Manitoba is the latest Canadian province to have confirmed the presence of avian flu, with a case recently identified in a commercial flock.

Alberta, Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia have also reported cases.

Outside of North America, outbreaks are being monitored in Asia, Africa and Europe.

“The ongoing 2021-2022 wave of H5N1 avian influenza is unprecedented in its rapid spread and extremely high outbreak frequency in poultry and wild birds, and poses a continuing potential threat to humans,” the authorities said. authors of the report. Science report writing.

The statement echoes that of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), which also commented on the “unprecedented” speed of the virus.

“The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is currently responding to cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza in farmed birds across Canada,” read a statement posted on the agency’s website.

“It reminds us that bird flu is spreading across the world and that anyone with farm animals should adopt good biosecurity habits.”

Migratory birds are responsible for some of the outbreaks, and experts believe cases will rise as birds return to Canada for the summer.

Bird flu can be fatal to some domestic birds, including chickens, ducks and turkeys. It is possible to transmit H5N1 to humans, but cases are rare. To date, there are two known human cases of bird flu, both of which occurred in 2018.

The current outbreak is not a risk to healthy people who are not in contact with infected birds.

PRECAUTIONS

People with backyard chickens are advised to watch for signs of excessive thirst and decreased appetite in their flocks.

Members of the public should avoid hand feeding wild birds. Bird feeders should be regularly cleaned and maintained.

Thumbnail courtesy of piola666/iStock/Getty Images Plus.

Teresa H. Sadler