Avian Influenza

Avian Influenza (AI) is a disease caused by a virus that primarily infects domestic poultry and wild birds such as geese, ducks, and shore birds. Each year, there is a “bird flu” season, and some forms of the “bird flu” are worse than others. Wild birds, especially waterfowl, are a natural reservoir for mild strains of AI. Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 is a strain known to kill both wild birds and commercial poultry.

In March 2022, highly pathogenic avian influenza virus was detected in Ontario in wild and commercial poultry. This same strain of the virus has also been found in many other jurisdictions across the world, including in other Canadian provinces and American states. Its spread has been primarily attributed to the migration of infected waterfowl.

The HPAI H5N1 virus does not easily spread from birds to humans, and the current strain is listed as lower than normal concern for spread to people. HPAI however, does continue to evolve globally with increasing cases over time.

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This item was last modified on April 17, 2023