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Canada - CFIA: Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in livestock (Date modified: 2024-04-17)

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  • Canada - CFIA: Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in livestock (Date modified: 2024-04-17)

    Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in livestock

    The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has not detected highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in dairy cattle or other livestock in Canada. We are monitoring the situation closely.

    The risk of HPAI transmission to humans remains low.

    The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has informed the CFIA of the detection of HPAI in unpasteurized milk from sick dairy cattle in some US states.

    Affected cows are showing clinical signs that include a decrease in milk production and thicker consistency milk.

    The animals appear to recover after a period of illness. It is suspected that wild birds may have introduced the virus.

    More information on the situation in the US is available from the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS):Information for consumers


    Cow's milk and milk products that have been pasteurized remain safe to consume.

    Pasteurization kills harmful bacteria and viruses (including influenza) while retaining the nutritional properties of milk. Pasteurization ensures the milk we drink is safe. Information for producers


    You can help protect your animals and yourself and prevent the spread of disease by:
    • monitoring cattle for clinical signs, including a sudden decrease in milk production
    • contacting your veterinarian for any suspected cases
    • practicing good biosecurity measures, such as:
      • isolating sick animals and new animals that join your farm
      • minimizing contact with wild birds on your farm
      • regularly inspecting your farm and cleaning up any loose feed
      • reporting dead birds to the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative
      • changing boots when entering barns
      • regularly sanitizing livestock enclosures, waterers, and feeders, and
      • limiting visitors to your farm
    • contacting your provincial or national associations for any enhanced biosecurity protocols that may be available

    More information on biosecurity is available on the National Biosecurity Standards: Animal biosecurity page. For example, you'll find:
    • animal-specific standards
    • protocols
    • practices and
    • a self-assessment checklist
    Information for veterinarians


    Veterinarians are encouraged to contact their local CFIA animal health office if there is a high degree of suspicion of HPAI.

    What to look for:
    • a sudden decrease in milk (especially in older cows)
    • thicker consistency milk, similar to colostrum
    • little to no signs of mastitis (a negative or trace positive result from the California Mastitis Test [CMT])
    • decrease in feed consumption
    • drop in rumen motility
    • dry manure or constipation (diarrhea has been observed occasionally)
    • fever (sometimes)
    • a history of dead wild birds on the property
    Date modified: 2024-03-31​

    "Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."
    -Nelson Mandela

  • #2
    Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in livestock


    The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has detected highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in unpasteurized milk from sick dairy cattle in some areas of the United States.

    HPAI has not been detected in dairy cattle or other livestock in Canada. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is monitoring the situation closely. We will update this page as soon as new information becomes available.

    HPAI is not a food safety concern and the risk of transmission to humans remains low. What the U.S. Department of Agriculture found


    Affected cows are showing clinical signs that include a decrease in milk production or feed consumption and thicker consistency milk.

    The animals appear to recover after a period of illness. It is suspected that wild birds may have introduced the virus.

    Learn more about the HPAI detections in livestock from the USDA Animal Health Inspection Service.

    What consumers need to know


    Pasteurized cow's milk and milk products remain safe to consume.

    Pasteurization kills harmful bacteria and viruses (including influenza) while retaining the nutritional properties of milk. Pasteurization ensures the milk we drink is safe.

    There is also no evidence to suggest that eating thoroughly cooked beef could transmit avian influenza to humans. All evidence to date indicates that thorough cooking will kill the virus.

    Safe food handling practices, such as handwashing and keeping meat products separate from other food products to avoid cross contamination should be followed. What producers can do


    Prevent the spread of disease by:
    • monitoring cattle for clinical signs, including a sudden decrease in milk production
    • contacting your veterinarian for any suspected cases
    • practising good biosecurity measures, such as:
      • isolating sick animals and new animals that join your farm
      • minimizing contact with wild birds on your farm
      • regularly inspecting your farm and cleaning up any loose feed
      • reporting dead wildlife to the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative
      • changing boots when entering barns
      • regularly sanitizing livestock enclosures, waterers and feeders
      • limiting visitors to your farm
    • contacting your provincial or national associations for any enhanced biosecurity protocols that may be available

    Read more information about animal biosecurity, that includes:
    • animal-specific standards
    • protocols
    • practices
    • a self-assessment checklist
    What veterinarians can look for


    Veterinarians are encouraged to contact their local CFIA animal health office if they suspect HPAI infection and consult the Guidance for private veterinarians.

    What to look for:
    • a sudden decrease in milk (especially in older cows)
    • thicker consistency milk, similar to colostrum
    • little to no signs of mastitis (a negative or trace positive result from the California Mastitis Test)
    • decrease in feed consumption
    • drop in rumen motility
    • dry manure or constipation (diarrhea has been observed occasionally)
    • fever (sometimes)
    • a history of dead wild birds on the property
    How we respond to detections in cattle versus poultry


    Our response to detections of HPAI in cattle is different from detections in domestic birds. Although the virus is the same, cattle respond differently to the virus.

    HPAI spreads rapidly between birds and leads to high mortality rates. This represents significant health risks in birds, resulting in negative impacts to trade of live poultry and poultry products. Cattle show milder signs, with only a small proportion of the herd being affected. Cattle typically recover within one to three weeks.

    No cows have died from this virus so far and there are no impacts to trade of live cattle or their products. Our role in HPAI in cattle is to provide scientific guidance and diagnostic assistance and to report internationally.

    We are working with the veterinary community, industry, public health authorities and the provinces and territories to coordinate a national response. We will continue to reassess the situation as new information becomes available.

    Trade implications


    The World Organisation of Animal Health (WOAH) does not recommend restrictions on the movement of healthy cattle and their products at this time. Refer to High Pathogenicity Avian Influenza in Cattle.

    Wild birds remain the main source of HPAI. Practising good biosecurity is key to helping prevent disease.

    For the importation of live cattle, the CFIA has current import controls in place, including import permits, export certification and veterinary inspection of imported cattle.

    We will continue to closely monitor the evolving situation and will consider any additional measures, as necessary.

    Related linksDate modified: 2024-04-17

    "Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."
    -Nelson Mandela

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