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High Mortality Set Alarm Bells Ringing in Ontario Turkey Flock

10 April 2015

CANADA - The recent outbreak of high-path bird flu in Ontario was in a flock of 45,000 housed commercial turkeys and caused by the H5N2 variant of the virus.

Further details have emerged on the recent outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Canada, the first since February 2015, according the Immediate Notification dated 8 April from the veterinary body to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

The alarm was raised on 3 April when mortality went up to around 25 per cent within 48 hours in one of four turkey houses at the farm in Beachville, Ontario. The birds, meat turkeys, were 16 weeks old. Around 9,000 or 75 per cent of the birds in that house died.

The report notes that the National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease - Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has confirmed that the virus was a H5N2. Preliminary testing indicates that the virus is similar to other Eurasian origin H5 outbreaks currently circulating in North America and the HA0 cleavage site sequence is typical of HPAI viruses. Additional testing is underway.

It states that this outbreak of H5N2 is not linked with the H5N2 outbreaks that affected the commercial poultry in the province of British Columbia late in 2014. One possibility is that the current H5N2 outbreak in Ontario is related to wild birds migration (Mississipi flyway). Wild waterfowls (ducks, geese, swans) were observed around the barns within the last 30 days.

The CFIA immediately quarantined the infected farm and is implementing strict movement controls and a stamping-out policy. The Canadian Notifiable Avian Influenza Surveillance System (CanNAISS) has been ongoing in Canada since 2008 and surveillance activities will be enhanced in Ontario.

Further Reading

You can visit the Avian Flu page by clicking here.

ThePoultrySite News Desk

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