Two small flocks in Alberta were also confirmed to have encountered outbreaks at the beginning of the month. The total number of cases in the province now stands at 31. A commercial poultry flock was also infected on April 6.
Meanwhile, in New Brunswick, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency ended restrictions that were imposed following the discovery of the avian influenza virus in the province in April.
Officials suspect migrating birds are responsible for the global outbreak. According to Harris Ali, a sociology professor at Toronto’s York University who researches infectious diseases, the virus is common in marine and aquatic birds like geese, seagulls and ducks.
However, sometimes, as we’re seeing now, the virus will transmit to other types of birds, like chickens on farms, according to Ali. It’s transmitted through a bird’s fecal matter, mucous membranes and saliva.
“In these factory farms, where these animals are caged very close to each other, side-by-side in these conditions, it’s very easy for the virus to jump from one animal to the next.”
The government of Canada has confirmed that avian flu is not a food safety concern. They’ve urged those with birds to frequently clean poultry coops, waterers and feeders, along with their own clothing and boots. They also say to limit exposure to visitors.
“Right now, the general public shouldn’t be too concerned,” he said. “It’s not a pandemic like the COVID-19 virus or anything like that. We’re dealing with limited outbreaks, mostly among animals.”