A flock in Quebec possibly affected by bird flu

OTTAWA — The Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced on Monday that the bird flu virus may have entered a poultry flock in Quebec after being detected in Ontario and Alberta in the past two weeks. .

“We are in the investigation process in Quebec. “We will only report confirmed cases during a media briefing,” said Nancy Rheault, senior director and chief veterinarian.

Quebec Poultry Breeders, who are “on high alert”, stated that this is a site not covered by the quota. In other words, a small reproduction.

“The situation has never been more critical for poultry farmers in Quebec,” their president, Pierre-Luc Leblanc, told the Canadian Press.

Farmers fear the disease will enter their buildings and wreak havoc.

“Mr. Leblanc estimates we can find mortality rates of up to 50, 60%, 70%. The whole site would probably be all euthanasia. We’re talking about huge losses for our breeders, a lot of psychological effects.

Avian influenza, commonly known as “bird flu”, affects several birds for consumption, domestic birds and wild birds, particularly chicken, turkey, quail and guinea fowl.

The CFIA states that there is no cure for this disease, and the mortality rate of birds infected with the disease is high. More than 260,000 birds have already been said to have either died or been euthanized in the country.

“Unprecedented” transmission

According to federal experts, there is an “unprecedented” spread of the virus worldwide. Ottawa urges growers and producers to be more vigilant in the face of this “significant threat.”

Risks are linked to the migration of wild birds. The situation should therefore continue for “a few months,” and the CFIA says it expects new outbreaks across the country.

“Transmission can be direct bird to bird,” Rheault said. It can also be spread indirectly through contact with contaminated surfaces from infected birds, such as clothing, shoes, bedding, food, and water.

Birds secrete the virus in their saliva, nasal secretions, and feces. The agency insists that “strict biosecurity measures are enforced at all times” is necessary.

“We did everything we could do,” repeated Mr. Leblanc, Quebec Poultry Farmer, reminding him of good practices, particularly changing boots and clothing when entering a building, and disinfecting entrances as often as possible.

According to him, consumers can observe an increase in prices in case of a decrease in supply, especially as demand increases.

“At the moment, the markets are already short. American imports are coming slowly. (…) There is a chick shortage that has already been announced as American farms have been affected. Thus, we reduced our production to 3.5% below the consumer demand.”

Paulin Bouchard, President of the Quebec Egg Producers Federation, states that the virus is “on our doorstep” and that biosecurity measures are being stressed on farms to prevent disease from entering flocks.

Mr Bouchard noted that as a preventative measure, certifiers would not want organic producers to grant outside access to their chickens. In fact, they will want the opposite.

And for those who have chickens at home, Mr. Bouchard advises to be “very careful” in avoiding contact with wild birds, particularly by keeping them in a roofed and fenced enclosure.

Last Monday, Quebec’s Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks announced that the first three cases of bird flu have been detected in the province. It was a Canadian goose at Granby and two snow gooses, one at Saint-Jean-sur-le-Richelieu and the other at Montérégie at Saint-Isidore-de-Laprairie.

Cases of bird flu were detected in flocks in Newfoundland and Labrador last December, followed by Nova Scotia and Ontario.

Experts explained that there is a correlation between the level of risk and migration routes. Cases that occurred in the Atlantic were likely linked to the “Eastern Flight Path” and current cases are coming from the United States via the “Central Mississippi Flight Path”.