Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Government of Canada

Government of Canada

June 08, 2007 16:41 ET

Canada's Third Annual Wild Bird Survey for Avian Influenza is Underway

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 8, 2007) - Canada's New Government today announced the third annual wild bird survey for avian influenza (AI). This is a joint initiative of the Government of Canada, provincial and territorial governments, the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre (CCWHC) and Canada's Avian Influenza Laboratory Network.

The 2007 survey will include sampling of live birds during the spring, summer and fall and continued year-round sampling of dead birds. The survey is intended to provide early detection of highly pathogenic AI in Canada and determine the presence and characteristics of the AI strains in North America's wild bird population.

As with the previous two years of the survey, it is expected that a variety of AI viruses will be found because these commonly circulate in wild birds with little or no impact on their health or the health of other animals. There is specific interest in identifying any AI viruses that are or have the potential to become highly pathogenic, including the H5 and H7 subtypes. The highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of AI currently present in Asia, Africa and Europe has not been detected in Canada.

The wild bird survey is one of a number of domestic and international initiatives that Canada's New Government has implemented to detect and prevent the introduction and establishment of H5 and H7 subtypes of AI in Canada's domestic poultry flock. As with the 2006 survey, this year's survey is being coordinated with the wild bird surveillance program in the United States.

The 2007 survey will once again sample wild birds along main migratory routes with a focus on the north Atlantic region, which hosts birds that overwinter in Europe or may have come into contact with birds from Europe or Greenland. Sampling will also be conducted in Iceland where there are migratory birds from both North America and Europe. The goal is to sample a total of 16,000 birds.

Year-round sampling of dead birds is a major focus of the 2007 wild bird survey. Anyone who finds a dead bird is asked to contact CCWHC at 1-866-544-4744 or http://wildlife.usask.ca/ for further information. As a general precaution, the public is advised to avoid direct contact with sick or dead birds.

Survey results will be posted on the CCWHC Web site as they become available.

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