MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - The recent discovery of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in Alberta poultry flocks is a stark reminder of the need for prompt reporting and strict isolation of identified cases, says Nate Horner, minister of Alberta Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Economic Development.
“The case is an important reminder of the importance of strict biosecurity measures and early detection,” Horner said in a release Tuesday.
“HPAI is a reportable disease, so if you suspect or confirm a case in your flock, you are required to report it to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) or the Office of the Chief Provincial Veterinarian.”
As of today, the CFIA confirmed it had identified seven poultry flocks in Alberta infected with HPAI since April 6 -- two in Mountain View County, one in Kneehill County, one in Paintearth County, one in Wetaskiwin County, one in Ponoka County and one in Camrose County.
CFIA officials say each infected premises has been placed under quarantine, including movement control measures on other farms within the control area.
HPAI, commonly known as bird flu, is a contagious viral infection that can affect several species of food-producing birds as well as pet birds and wild birds, the CFIA says.
Highly pathogenic viruses can cause illness or death in birds.
“Albertans can be assured there is no risk to food safety and that the risk to human health is extremely low,” said Horner.
Alberta Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Economic Development is supporting the CFIA with testing and mapping, he said.
“We are in regular contact with the CFIA, industry, producers and other stakeholders to ensure a timely, coordinated and effective response,” he said.
“This is an incredibly difficult time for the affected producers. We appreciate the steady support of all stakeholders as we continue working together to resolve this issue.”
Symptoms of avian influenza include swelling around the animal’s eyes and neck, sneezing, diarrhea, lack of energy, and reduced egg production, the CFIA says.