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Avian flu | An “unprecedented pandemic” hits Canada

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A second wave of avian flu — an unprecedented pandemic — has been sweeping throughout Canada because the starting of the yr. In Quebec, two farms are at the moment contaminated and one other is beneath investigation.

Posted at 5:00 a.m.

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Emilie Bilodeau

Emilie Bilodeau
The Press

The presence of H5N1 was detected in a barnyard close to Napierville in Montérégie on October seventh. One other poultry farm might be added to the energetic circumstances recognized by the Canadian Meals Inspection Company (CFIA) within the coming hours, in keeping with our info. Nevertheless, it was not possible to know during which area of Quebec this contaminated institution was positioned.

“It’s totally worrying,” says Martin Pelletier, director basic of the Quebec Poultry Illness Management Crew (EQCMA). “This pressure of avian influenza may be very virulent and it spreads in a short time. We see it on a worldwide scale and even on a nationwide scale. That is the primary time we’ve got seen an outbreak of such magnitude in Canada. »

Canada has certainly skilled two episodes of avian flu, in 2004 in British Columbia and in 2015 in Ontario. Just a few remoted circumstances have additionally been recognized within the meantime. However because the starting of the yr, the virus has hit the nation from coast to coast: 78 locations have been contaminated and greater than three million birds have needed to be culled. No province has been spared.

In Quebec, the very first case of avian influenza was detected final April. A complete of 13 locations, together with 12 farms, had been affected and 300,000 animals needed to be killed.

Avian influenza is principally carried by migrating birds that cross by Canada within the spring and fall. They excrete the virus of their droppings or nasal secretions, when they’re in flight or once they cease, explains Mr. Pelletier, of the EQCMA.

“Birds from small flocks are sometimes reared open air. They’re subsequently extra prone to tread on or peck contaminated droppings. Quota birds are bred indoors. It’s then the producer, the workers or the guests who can convey the virus into the constructing if they’ve walked on contaminated droppings,” says Mr. Pelletier, specifying nonetheless that anybody should change their footwear or put on covers. -shoes earlier than coming into a constructing housing poultry.

Quarantine measures

Avian influenza is a reportable illness. A producer who detects an contaminated chicken should notify the CFIA. His poultry are then killed to forestall the extremely pathogenic virus from spreading to neighboring farms.

Quarantine measures are additionally put in place by the CFIA inside a fringe of as much as 10 km across the contaminated farm. Producers on this perimeter should acquire a allow to maneuver their animals to the slaughterhouse and guests comparable to propane or meals deliverers should wash the wheels of their automobiles when leaving what known as the first management space. .

“If we let the virus [circuler dans une ferme contaminée], we might find yourself with some 10,000 sick birds that might excrete billions of viral particles. We’d find yourself with a spectacular website of contamination “which might expertise a mortality price of 100%, explains Jean-Pierre Vaillancourt, veterinarian and professor on the College of Montreal.

The H5N1 skilled additionally raises an animal welfare problem. “It isn’t a pleasant loss of life. The virus causes hemorrhages within the tissues and the lungs fill with blood,” he factors out. The professor additionally specifies that the dangers of transmission from birds to people are very low.

“Within the West, it is fairly catastrophic”

On the CFIA, the DD Manon Racicot speaks with out hesitation of an “unprecedented pandemic”. “We had by no means seen so many contaminated wild birds. There are extra deaths amongst migrating birds, but in addition amongst resident wild birds. »

The danger of contamination for poultry manufacturing is especially elevated.

The DD Manon Racicot, Canadian Meals Inspection Company

After the wave of H5N1 within the spring, a second swept over the west of the nation: 13 locations had been contaminated in British Columbia and 26 in Alberta.

“The circumstances within the West have resumed in a meteoric means, notes the veterinarian-epidemiologist. Within the East, as in Quebec, we don’t but see so many migratory birds. Is the worst but to come back right here? I do not know, it is exhausting to foretell. However what is occurring within the West proper now could be fairly catastrophic. »

The CFIA is intently monitoring France and the Netherlands, which have determined to experiment with a vaccine on sure poultry. Canada will not be ruling out the concept of ​​additionally utilizing vaccination to stem the pandemic.

“We can not proceed to depopulate like that, to intervene on every website. It is getting hellish, “says the DD Racicot.

Poultry manufacturing in Quebec, in 2019

  • 1013 rooster farmers
  • 247 turkey producers
  • 76 farm chicken producers (geese and geese)
  • 989 egg producers

Supply: Quebec Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Meals

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