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NL, Canada: 2022 Bird Flu in wild birds

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  • NL, Canada: 2022 Bird Flu in wild birds


    Avian flu discovered in birds around St. John's, Environment Canada says
    Infected birds could have come from Europe, MUN biology prof says
    CBC News · Posted: Dec 31, 2021 4:50 PM NT | Last Updated: 3 hours ago

    Environment Canada says a highly pathogenic avian influenza first identified on a farm on the Avalon Peninsula has been found in birds around the St. John's area.

    In a statement from the City of St. John's on Friday, officials say the influenza, known as H5N1 and often called bird flu, has been confirmed to have been found in wild birds in areas like Bowring Park, Quidi Vidi Lake and other areas frequented by flocks of birds.

    "Like our human flu, it has variants that we refer to as highly pathogenic, meaning that they cause illness and death in birds that get infected with them," said Ian Jones, a biology professor at Memorial University.

    The city has asked residents not to feed, touch or handle wild birds, including ducks, pigeons and gulls.

    Cases of H5N1 were first identified on the island around mid-December on an exhibition farm on the island, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and a report from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)...

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    • #3
      Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative -


      Numbers correct as of December 17, 2021

      DEAD BIRD SURVEY - 2021

      December 1 - 15, 2021 Year To Date

      Region Tested Matrix Positive* Tested Matrix Positive H5 Positive H7 Positive
      British Columbia 0 0 224 0 0 0
      Alberta 0 0 274 0 0 0
      Saskatchewan 0 0 80 0 0 0
      Manitoba 0 0 0 0 0 0
      Ontario 2 0 150 3 0 0
      Québec 0 0 28 1 0 0
      New Brunswick 0 0 14 0 0 0
      Nova Scotia 0 0 27 0 0 0
      Prince Edward Island 0 0 105 2 0 0
      Newfoundland and Labrador 0 0 2 0 0 0
      Yukon 0 0 0 0 0 0
      Northwest Territories 0 0 0 0 0 0
      Nunavut 0 0 0 0 0 0
      TOTAL 2 0 952 6 0 0

      LIVE BIRD SURVEY - 2021

      Region Tested Matrix Positive H5 Positive H7 Positive
      British Columbia 0 0 0 0
      Alberta 100 17 0 0
      Saskatchewan 615 59 0 2
      Manitoba 251 29 0 0
      Ontario 416 114 40 0
      Quebec 0 0 0 0
      New Brunswick 0 0 0 0
      Nova Scotia 0 0 0 0
      Prince Edward Island 0 0 0 0
      Newfoundland and Labrador 0 0 0 0
      Yukon 0 0 0 0
      Northwest Territories 0 0 0 0
      Nunavut 0 0 0 0
      TOTAL 1382 217 40 2

      *Matrix positive includes all birds that tested ‘not negative’ by PCR for one or more Influenza A viruses. The number of positive test results included both those birds that tested POSITIVE (Ct value less than 36) and those that had an INCONCLUSIVE test result (Ct value greater than or equal to 36).

      Any samples found to be matrix POSITIVE or INCONCLUSIVE are then tested by PCR for H5 and H7 strains at the regional level. Any samples that are then found to be either H5 or H7 POSITIVE or INCONCLUSIVE are immediately sent to the NCFAD for confirmation and identification. Authorities from the province or region where the bird was sampled will be notified when preliminary H5 or H7 positive results are found at the regional lab. When the CFIA confirms and identifies the virus, authorities from across the country will be notified. This update reports all POSITIVE or INCONCLUSIVE matrix results, but does not report whether or not these samples were found to be H5 or H7 positive.


      Tested - The number of birds that were screened for avian influenza virus by real time reverse transcriptase PCR (RRT-PCR) for the M1 gene.

      Matrix positive - The number of birds that tested positive for the M1 gene by RRT-PCR.

      H5 positive - The number of birds that were confirmed to be positive for the H5 virus subtype by either DNA sequencing or virus isolation.*

      H7 positive - The number of birds that were confirmed to be positive for the H7 virus subtype by either DNA sequencing or virus isolation.*

      *Where the virus isolation and sequence data disagreed, the final H type was determined by DNA sequencing.
      "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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        • #5

          H5N1 strain moved through Newfoundland in January
          CBC News · Posted: May 09, 2022 4:24 PM NT | Last Updated: 4 hours ago

          A case of deadly avian influenza has been identified in Labrador.

          According to a news release from the Nunatsiavut government, a presumptive case of the viral disease more commonly known as bird flu was found in an Iceland Gull in the region.

          No other cases have been found as of Monday, but Nunatsiavut says it's working with the provincial Department of Agriculture and Environment and Climate Change Canada to monitor the spread of the virus...


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            • #7

              Bird Flu Concerns Increase With Deaths of Gannets, Puffins, Murrs
              Jul 18, 2022 | 3:20 PM

              Dead seabirds are being found along the southern Burin and Avalon peninsulas.

              And that has many residents and biologists concerned that avian flu may have hit our shores.

              Seabird expert Bill Montevecchi says some 10 dead gannets and 53 murrs have been found at the Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve, as well as six dead puffins in the area of Witless Bay.

              Montevecchi says it looks like it’s radiating from the Burin Peninsula, across Placentia Bay, to Cape St. Mary’s and the Witless Bay area.

              Samples are being tested at Memorial University and the biologist says he can’t imagine any result other than positive...


              • #8

                Avian flu responsible for thousands of dead birds in Newfoundland, suggest preliminary tests
                Common murres, razorbills, gannets and great black-backed gulls have all been found dead
                Heidi Atter · CBC News · Posted: Jul 22, 2022 6:37 PM NT | Last Updated: July 22

                Preliminary test results migratory seabirds that have been washing up by the thousands on Newfoundland's Avalon and Burin peninsulas suggest the cause of death was avian flu, says the Canadian Wildlife Service.

                The most common species being found is the common murre, according to Becky Whittam, the manager of wildlife and habitat assessment for the federal government division's Atlantic region, but razorbills, gannets and great black-backed gulls are also dying.

                In May, thousands of northern gannets from a colony in the Magdalen Islands died of the highly pathogenic H5N1 flu and washed up along Newfoundland, Cape Breton, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. The latest testing results mean Newfoundland and Labrador joins the Maritimes and Quebec as a province with positive cases. ..


                • #9
                  Translation Google

                  Biologists fear the presence of avian flu in puffins in NL.

                  Radio Canada
                  Posted yesterday at 12:45 p.m.

                  In Newfoundland, thousands of birds — mostly murres — have died on the southern Avalon Peninsula in recent weeks. Provincial biologists are concerned about the impact of avian flu on Atlantic puffin populations.

                  Despite preliminary positive tests on bird carcasses in the region, uncertainty still hangs over whether or not highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) is present in the province.

                  Further tests are being carried out on recently dead birds and the results should be known within 14 days.

                  Is bird flu here? There's a good chance. Does it have a massive impact? Not yet. We will talk about it again in two weeks [to] see if it has changed or not , says assistant professor at Memorial University Pierre-Paul Bitton.

                  Hundreds of thousands of seabirds nest on the eastern Avalon Peninsula.

                  Residents of the Witless Bay area near Saint John are seeing more and more dead puffins floating in coastal waters.

                  Joe O'Brien is co-owner of O'Brien's Whale and Bird Tours , a company that offers marine mammal viewing tours in Bay Bulls , a nearby community north of Witless Bay .

                  He says he and his crew have seen more and more dead birds this summer as they cruise the bay.

                  With each exit, we notice that there are more and more of them. It's starting to get worrisome , he said.

                  The puffin patrol suspends its activities

                  In areas where avian influenza is suspected or confirmed, the Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that you do not touch live, sick or dead wild birds.

                  According to the council, the Newfoundland and Labrador chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society temporarily suspended its puffin patrol operations on Monday for safety reasons.

                  This community group in the south of the Avalon Peninsula which fights for the preservation of the species has saved more than 4,000 distressed juvenile puffins for more than a decade.

                  We had to make this decision while waiting to have more details on the situation , explains the provincial director of conservation of the Society, Suzanne Dooley .

                  Biologists recommend that the public call the ministry if they find a sick, injured bird or a bird carcass (1-709-685-7273). Officials will come and pick it up.
                  "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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                    • #11

                      Avian flu spreads further into Newfoundland's bird populations — but deaths seem to have slowed
                      Population has dropped by thousands at Cape St. Mary's
                      Garrett Barry · CBC News · Posted: Aug 13, 2022 7:00 AM NT | Last Updated: 2 hours ago

                      The deadly avian flu that has been blamed for hundreds of dead gannets and murres along Newfoundland's coasts is showing signs of spreading farther across the island.

                      New mortalities have been seen along beaches in Lumsden and Musgrave Harbour, according to biologist Bill Montevecchi, who is tracking the spread of the disease across Newfoundland.

                      He and his team have taken samples from those birds and are awaiting laboratory confirmation of the cause of death, but Montevecchi says he expects tests will be positive for the H5N1 virus that causes avian flu.

                      "They're going to be the furthest north positive signals that I know of," Montevecchi said. "We've seen the disease, you know, actually move from the south coast to Cape St Mary's and now to Witless Bay and now most recently to the northeast coast."

                      The biologist said he's planning a trip to Funk Island, an ecological reserve about 60 kilometres east of Fogo Island, to see if the disease has spread to bird populations there...


                      • #12


                        Avian flu is devastating N.L.'s birds. This biologist has some ideas on how to curb it
                        Ian Jones suggests halting the murre hunt, covering garbage and improving bio-security at poultry farms
                        Mike Moore · CBC News · Posted: Aug 26, 2022 8:00 AM NT | Last Updated: 1 hour ago

                        It has been a disastrous summer for Newfoundland and Labrador's bird populations.

                        Thousands of gannets, puffins and murres, which once overran seaside cliffs that now sit half-empty, have died from avian influenza.

                        Memorial University biology professor Ian Jones is one of the experts watching the tragedy unfold.

                        "We're a little bit helpless as to responding tactically to it. In other words, we can't offer the birds a vaccine, we can't try to rehabilitate birds that are ill," Jones said Thursday.

                        "All we can do right now is count carcasses."

                        Jones has come up with three suggestions that he thinks could reduce the spread of the fast-spreading and deadly strain of the virus.

                        First, the province should halt the hunting of the common murre, one of the species most impacted by the spread of the virus.

                        Like most seabirds, said Jones, murres — also known as turrs — need to live about four or five years before it's able to breed. As the avian flu spreads through the population, killing younger murres, there are few left to breed and replace the adult birds killed by the virus.

                        Even then, said Jones, most seabirds have a clutch size of only one egg, so they are unable to easily replace adult birds killed in a flu outbreak...


                        • #13

                          Avian flu confirmed in gull off Makkovik coast, suspected in birds off Cartwright
                          54 birds awaiting confirmation, with testing backlog caused by post-tropical storm Fiona in P.E.I.
                          Heidi Atter · CBC News · Posted: Oct 07, 2022 1:11 PM NT | Last Updated: 3 hours ago

                          The highly pathogenic avian influenza has been identified in more birds in Labrador, says the Canadian Wildlife Service.

                          According to the federal agency, a gull collected in April off the coast of Makkovik has been confirmed to have avian influenza, while two gulls collected off the coast of Cartwright in May and July are suspected to have the virus but further testing is needed.

                          The H5N1 virus is suspected to have killed thousands of birds in Newfoundland, especially in the Cape St. Mary's region. The virus was first detected in Newfoundland in December...