Information from MAPAQ – reminder avian flu
Fall is fast approaching, and many migratory birds will soon resume their north-south journey from their breeding grounds to their wintering grounds. Wild birds are a reservoir for avian influenza. Their increased presence along the migratory route contributes to the spread of the virus and increases the risk of contamination of domestic birds. In addition, cooler outdoor temperatures are conducive to the survival of the virus in the environment.
The Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ) asks for your vigilance and cooperation in order to optimize surveillance and prevention measures for avian influenza, which represents a major threat to the health of farmed poultry. However, it represents a low risk for the population, since the virus is rarely transmitted from birds to humans.
Highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 has been detected in Quebec and Canada in wild and farmed birds.
As a citizen, you can report the presence of dead or dying wild birds by contacting the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs (MFFP) at 1 877 346 6763. Do not handle the bird while waiting for instructions. Depending on certain criteria, the specimens may be recovered for analysis by wildlife protection officers, otherwise instructions will be given for the safe disposal of the carcass.
If you are in an area where there are multiple reported mortalities of wild birds and testing has already been requested, there is no need to report the birds.
Follow the protocol for safe disposal of a dead wild bird carcass, available at Quebec.ca.
Prevention and biosecurity for farmed poultry
Prevention and biosecurity measures must be strictly enforced on commercial farms as well as in backyard and small-scale bird operations (e.g. urban chickens).
The requirements of the Regulation respecting the sanitary conditions of places where captive birds are kept must be respected at all times:
- Domestic birds must be kept in a building or fenced area to prevent them from escaping freely;
- Bird feeders and waterers must be protected: no migratory birds should be able to access or contaminate them;
- Surface water must not be used to water the birds or to clean equipment and buildings;
- It is forbidden to keep domestic birds and migratory palmipeds at the same civic address.
MAPAQ also recommends that owners of farmed birds :
- To avoid any direct or indirect contact between farmed birds and wild birds by confining the birds in a closed building when possible, otherwise in an enclosure with a roof (e.g. net);
- Avoid attracting wild birds by the presence of food, water or water accumulation on the ground near the pen;
- Clean and disinfect all vehicles and equipment before entering or leaving the farm;
- Limit access to the farm to authorized persons only and ensure that these persons respect the biosecurity measures in effect (keep a log of visitors, if possible);
- Avoid all contact between backyard and commercial farms (e.g. sharing of personnel).
In case of unusual deaths or signs of the disease, consult a veterinarian. If you are unable to find a veterinarian, call the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s sick bird reporting line at 450-768-6763 or the MAPAQ’s Reporting Centre at 1-844-ANIMALS.
Currently, MAPAQ does not recommend participating in gatherings of birds from different farms (fairs, exhibitions, contests).
General Information for Citizens
Consult the Web page Avian Influenza Web page of the Government of Quebec (quebec.ca).
Reporting centre for animal health and welfare
Animal Health Branch
Animal Health and Food Inspection Sub-Department
Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation