Preliminary testing by the Province of Ontario has confirmed the presence of H5 avian influenza on a turkey farm near Woodstock, Ont.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has placed the farm, and a neighboring farm, under quarantine to control disease spread and the industry sector has been notified to adopt enhanced biosecurity practices. Further testing by CFIA is underway to confirm pathogenicity and to determine the precise subtype and strain of the virus. Pathogenicity refers to the severity of the illness caused in birds. Results are expected within days, CFIA said.
Initial tests for the disease were conducted on April 5 at the Animal Health Laboratory at the University of Guelph, after the turkey farm experienced sudden deaths of birds over several days.
All birds on the infected premises will be humanely euthanized and disposed of, in accordance with provincial environmental regulations and internationally accepted disease control guidelines, CFIA said. As lead response agency, CFIA will ensure the quarantine of the infected farm and determine a surrounding surveillance zone for further testing and movement control measures. CFIA will also lead on required depopulation of birds, while the province will provide technical support on required carcass disposal.
Once all birds have been removed, CFIA will oversee the cleaning and disinfection of the barns, vehicles, equipment and tools to eliminate any infectious material that may remain.
Ontario, CFIA, the owner of the infected birds and the poultry industry are working together to manage the situation. Both levels of government will work with the poultry industry to address issues as they emerge. CFIA noted that the Canadian poultry sector currently practices a high level of biosecurity that reduces the risk of disease spread.