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Populations of wild foxes from the first mammals of Saint Mary in Canada have been diagnosed with bird flu

This month, two groups of sick foxes in Saint Marys discovered the first mammals in Canada to be diagnosed with H5N1, the highly contagious bird flu virus currently threatening the country’s poultry farms.

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This month, two groups of sick foxes in Saint Marys discovered the first mammals in Canada to be diagnosed with H5N1, the highly contagious bird flu virus currently threatening the country’s poultry farms.

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According to a report from the Canadian Wildlife Health Association, a pair of young foxes have been found together. One of them was already dead. The other had seizures and died shortly after entering a wildlife rehabilitation center.

After various tests, including a post-mortem examination, the Cooperative and its partners at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Animal Health Laboratory determined on May 2 that H5N1 was the likely cause of death. The discovery is a significant development in the global outbreak of bird flu that officials have been tracking since last year, but wildlife pathologist Brian Stevens said Friday that concern for human health remains low.

“We assume that these foxes became infected by eating the organs or meat of infected (bird) carcasses,” Stevens said. “This is not something people will necessarily communicate with.”

Canadian officials have been tracking the spread of the virus since it was discovered in Europe early last year. These effects were picked up in December when the virus was found in seagulls in Newfoundland before spreading to birds in Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.

The biggest impact of the outbreak has so far been felt in the Canadian poultry industry.

Government data showed that more than 1.8 million birds on 76 farms had been affected by the virus as of Thursday. This includes nearly 470,000 birds on 25 farms in Ontario, including one in nearby Oxford County.

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The Canadian Food Inspection Agency believes that migratory birds are to blame for the outbreak and expects there will be more cases as flocks continue to fly north in the summer.

“I think this is, in recent memory, one of the highest number of cases in multiple counties of avian influenza and the first time we’ve had H5N1,” Dr. Mary Jane Ireland, chief veterinarian, said last month.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has set up control areas in active outbreak areas in Ontario and Alberta to quarantine infected animals and limit the movement of goods and livestock in and out of affected areas. There is no evidence to suggest that eating poultry or cooked eggs can transmit the virus to humans, according to the agency.

No human cases of infection have been detected in Canada, and bird flu is not a major public health concern for otherwise healthy people who do not regularly come into contact with infected birds.

Agriculture and Food Canada says there are a lot of factors driving up the cost of food, so it’s hard to find a direct link between the rising costs of eggs and poultry and the virus, but the agency is watching closely.

“Poultry and egg production in Canada is under supply management, and there are mechanisms in place that modeling panels can use to give them flexibility to adapt to the kind of disruption we are talking about right now,” said Donald Boucher, director general of sector development. With Agri-Food Canada.

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Stevens said the Canadian Wildlife Health Association relies on government agencies, animal control offices, wildlife rehabilitation centers and the public to assist with monitoring efforts in Ontario. Contact information is available on the organization’s website.

The cooperative traced the virus from southern and eastern Ontario as far north as Sudbury. If the virus follows a similar pattern as it did in Europe, Stevens said the outbreak could decline this summer before returning again in the fall.

“Hot weather is not good for the spread of influenza viruses,” he said. “We will be watching this virus during the summer and waiting for the fall migration … to see if it jumps again.

“There’s really not much we can do about it other than keep an eye on what’s happening with the virus and do everything we can to protect agricultural species.”

– Files from the Canadian Press

cmontanini@postmedia.com

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2022-05-13 21:46:49

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