Avian Influenza A (H5N1) has been identified in the Kingston, Frontenac, and Lennox & Addington region. The announcement came in a press release this afternoon.
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.
The Province of Ontario is working with local, other provincial, federal, and international authorities to monitor and respond to situations as they arise.
“This virus does not typically pass from birds to humans, and the current strain of the virus has been listed as lower than normal concern for spread to people,” writes Jenn Fagen Communications and Public Relations Specialist for KFL&A Public Health.
The exact mode of transmission from birds to people is not known. Most human cases of avian influenza have been traced to direct contact with live or dead infected poultry or their droppings. High risk activities include caring for diseased birds, dressing birds that died from the disease, consuming duck’s blood or possibly undercooked poultry, and handling birds involved in cockfighting. There is no evidence to suggest that properly cooked game birds are a source of avian influenza infection for people.
“It is very important that people avoid handling live or dead wild birds. If contact with wild birds is unavoidable, wear gloves or use a doubled plastic bag and avoid contact with blood, body fluids and feces. You should then wash your hands with soap and warm water. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs has information on safety principles for small flock owners,” KFL&A Public Health added.
If you have handled a sick wildlife bird or poultry, be mindful of symptoms of Avian Influenza that can range from very mild to severe.
• Fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose
• Muscle or body aches, headache, tiredness
• Conjunctivitis (red eyes)
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting or seizures
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and have been in contact with poultry or wild birds in the last 10 days, please contact your health care provider.
Public Health asks that citizens call Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre at 1- 800-567-2033 to report the finding of sick or dead wild birds.