The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, (CFIA) is on the alert for a potential increase in the incidence of avian influenza (AI), subtype H5N1, (bird Flu) in Ontario.

On March 27, the CFIA announced that a poultry flock in the township of Guelph/Eramosa, Ontario had been infected by the virus.

The flock and premises were placed under quarantine and according to the CFIA the agency was,” establishing movement control measures and recommending enhanced biosecurity for other farms within that area.”

A day later on March 28, the CFIA zeroed in on another poultry flock in Zorra, Ontario. Finally on March 30 a third instance of the virus was found in a poultry flock in Woolwich, Ontario. The same measures were employed as before to reduce the spread of the virus.

A spokesperson for the CFIA said; “AI is spreading in wild bird populations across the globe and presents a significant national concern as birds migrate to Canada. The CFIA continues to remind anyone with poultry or other susceptible birds to practice good biosecurity habits to protect them from infectious animal disease.

 This is not the first time AI has been detected in Canada; the last confirmed cases were in February and March 2022 in Nova Scotia, and January 2022 and December 2021 in Newfoundland and Labrador, which were contained. AI occurs worldwide, with cases confirmed so far this year in Canada, the United States, and throughout Asia and Europe.”

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has a toolbox they use to deal with any potential AI outbreak. The agency quarantines implicated premises to prevent disease spread; negotiating with key trading partners to recognize control zones to minimize the impact of trade disruptions; actively engaging with industry, provincial governments, and Indigenous partners on the response and recovery actions; reminding poultry owners to protect their flocks with biosecurity measures and reporting any signs of illness; and Imposing strict requirements on the import of animals and animal products from countries where avian influenza is known to exist.

Resources to help stop the spread of AI are available on CFIA’s website: for producers and owners of backyard flocks and pet birds. The website has topics like: 5 rules to prevent and detect disease in backyard flocks and pet birds; protect your flock from bird flu; general producer guide – National avian on-farm biosecurity standard, and national avian on-farm biosecurity standards.