GUELPH/ERAMOSA – A turkey farm in Guelph/Eramosa has been linked to a bird flu outbreak also affecting two other farms in southern Ontario.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has confirmed three cases of a highly-pathogenic avian influenza, a sub-type called H5N1, all involving commercial turkey farms.
On March 27, the CFIA confirmed the presence of H5N1 in a poultry flock at a Guelph/Eramosa farm. In the following days, the outbreak was confirmed at two other turkey farms in the Townships of Woolwich and Zorra.
“To control any potential spread of the disease, the CFIA has placed the premises under quarantine and is establishing movement control measures and recommending enhanced biosecurity for other farms in the area,” an alert about the Guelph/Eramosa farm outbreak stated.
According to the CFIA, no birds, bird products or bird byproducts are allowed to enter or leave the property without permission when a poultry farm is under quarantine.
Stricter bio-security measures include controlling visitor access to essential-only, cleaning all footwear and tires, routine disinfection, close monitoring of flock health and limiting any new birds into the flock.
In an email, a CFIA spokesperson said the source of the outbreak is most likely from wild birds where the virus circulates naturally and is spread through migration.
They said work to minimize the impact and spread could include:
- Negotiating with key trading partners to recognize control zones to minimize the impact of trade disruptions.
- Engaging with industry, provincial governments and Indigenous partners on response and recovery actions.
- Reminding poultry owners to protect their flocks with bio-security measures and to report any signs of illness.
- Imposing strict requirements on the import of animals and animal products from countries where avian influenza is known to exist.
“The CFIA takes immediate disease control actions in response to all situations where domestic birds are suspected of being infected with AI,” the spokesperson said.
The email noted all disease response situations are different but there are common steps taken which include movement restrictions (quarantines), sample submission, investigation, destruction and disposal of the birds, and cleaning and disinfection.
“AI is spreading in wild bird populations across the globe and presents a significant national concern as birds migrate to Canada,” the alert stated. “The CFIA continues to remind anyone with poultry or other susceptible birds to practice good bio-security habits to protect them from infectious animal diseases.”