Glacier FarmMedia COVID-19 & the Farm

Canada now avian flu-free

New case of ILT reported in Ontario's Grey County

(Scott Bauer photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

With no new cases in poultry since April and no farms in quarantine since July, Canada has officially declared itself free of avian influenza.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said Thursday it has informed the World Organization of Animal Health (OIE) that Ontario is free of notifiable avian flu.

No new outbreaks of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian flu have been detected in the province since April 22, when the province found its third case of H5N2, on a turkey farm in Oxford County.

The CFIA has run “enhanced surveillance” in commercial poultry since then and all results were negative, the agency said in its final report to the OIE, dated Thursday.

With no further reports of the virus anywhere in the country, “all Canada is now free of avian influenza in domestic poultry,” the CFIA said in its report.

CFIA informed the OIE it considers the Ontario event “resolved” and no more reports will be submitted.

The H5N2 strain that hit two turkey farms and a broiler breeder operation in Oxford County is the same strain that ran through over 200 farms in 15 states from last December through June, affecting over 48 million birds.

The same strain of H5N2 also hit most of the 13 British Columbia farms infected with high-path avian flu in December and February. The province was declared avian flu-free in early June.

As of Sept. 1, Canada still has restrictions in place preventing travellers entering Canada from bringing in raw or uncooked poultry, eggs or birds from eight U.S. states — North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa and Kansas — where H5N2 was detected in poultry.

Closing the book on the latest H5N2 outbreak, however, doesn’t leave Canada completely in the clear for notifiable poultry diseases.

New ILT case

Ontario’s Feather Board Command Centre (FBCC), the emergency agency for Ontario’s poultry and egg boards, said Wednesday it had received a report from the provincial ag ministry of a positive case of infectious laryngotracheitis (ILT).

The CFIA classifies ILT as an “immediately notifiable” disease, which puts it in a list of “diseases exotic to Canada for which there are no control or eradication programs,” plus “some rare indigenous diseases.”

Wednesday’s ILT case, the FBCC said, was found in a “very small non-vaccinated non-commercial chicken flock” somewhere in southwestern Ontario’s Grey County, but its specific location wasn’t yet available.

ILT was previously reported in May in a vaccinated commercial pullet flock in the same county. The FBCC has since issued a “stand down” for heightened biosecurity in the area of that case.

ILT is caused by a respiratory virus and appears mainly in laying hens and chickens. Signs include increased mortality, noisy breathing, head shaking, birds going off feed or producing fewer eggs, inactivity, ruffled feathers and conjunctivitis. — Network

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