Bird Watch: Manitoba Survey Wild Bird Health

CANADA - Manitoba will continue to monitor the health of wild birds to ensure the study of avian influenza (AI) in the province remains active, Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives Minister Rosann Wowchuk said today.
calendar icon 6 June 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

"We already know that wild birds, particularly ducks and geese, are natural carriers of a variety of influenza viruses that cause them no ill effects," said Wowchuk. "It is important, however, that we maintain our vigil and encourage Manitobans to report any unusual, large numbers of deaths of wild birds so such cases can be investigated."

"Ducks and geese, are natural carriers of a variety of influenza viruses that cause them no ill effects"
Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives Minister Rosann Wowchuk

The minister noted people who find more than five dead waterfowl such as geese, ducks and swans or shorebirds like plovers and sandpipers at the same location at the same time should report the information to Manitoba Conservation at 1-800-214-6497 or in Winnipeg at 945-7273.

People are encouraged not to handle any sick or dead birds they find and to avoid contact with wild bird feces. Hunters of wild birds are reminded to follow usual good practices for handling carcasses carefully such as wearing gloves and cleaning the area where birds are prepared with soap and water. Properly cooked meat poses no threat to human health.

The federal and provincial governments are working together in an effort to keep avian flu out of Canada. Current measures include:

  • enforcing strict border controls to stop infected birds or meat from being brought into the country,

  • testing of backyard and small flocks through Manitoba's Small Poultry Flock Avian Influenza Program,

  • maintaining a surveillance program for commercial poultry in addition to the stringent bio-security measures larger poultry producers already have in place, and

  • maintaining the federal and provincial wild bird surveillance program that has been in place across Canada since 2005 to detect the AI virus.

"Ongoing surveillance is another part of the effort to monitor for and learn about viruses that occur naturally in the environment and which ones could potentially pose a concern," said the minister. "We recognize that controlling the disease in animals is the first line of defence in protecting livestock and human health."

Further Reading

- You can visit the Avian Flu page by clicking here.
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