Source: Toronto CTV News (Extract)
Posted: March 18, 2023

Peel Region is reporting suspected cases of avian influenza, more commonly known as bird flu, in Brampton and Caledon after several dead birds were recently found.

The birds were found in Professor’s Lake in Brampton, and a pond near Coleraine and Harvest Moon drives in Caledon. As a result, the nearby trail has been closed off.

The region said testing is being conducted by the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative to determine the cause of death. It is not known how many dead birds were located.

“While avian influenza is a threat to birds, the risk to humans is very low,” said Dr. Nicholas Brandon, the region’s acting medical officer of health, in a statement.

“Most cases of human avian flu have been traced to handling infected poultry or their droppings. Residents are asked to follow the recommended guidance to limit the spread of avian flu and protect the health and safety of residents and pets.”

Earlier this week, the Toronto Zoo closed its aviaries to the public after the highly pathogenic virus was detected in a commercial poultry farm in Niagara Region. There is another active case in Chatham-Kent.

Meanwhile, Peel Region has provided the following steps on how to protect residents and their pets from bird flu:

  • If possible, avoid handling ill or dead birds or animals. If handling is necessary, wear gloves, place the dead bird or animal in a doubled plastic bag and tie it closed then wash your hands thoroughly.
  • Call your local municipality and/or the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative if dead birds or animals are spotted.
  • Consider removing backyard bird feeders and bird baths. If they cannot be fully removed, place as far away from family pets as possible and clean with 10% bleach at least once every two weeks.
  • Keep family pets away from birds and fecal matter.
  • Keep cats indoors and dogs on leash to limit the potential for an encounter with an infected bird.
  • Do not feed family pets raw meat from game birds or poultry.
  • Do not feed or otherwise interact with the birds.
  • Pet birds, if not normally kept indoors, should be restricted to the indoors.
  • Residents that raise backyard chickens, own pet birds or maintain other flocks, should monitor them for signs of avian flu and follow preventive actions recommended by the Province and Government of Canada.
  • Do not attempt to retrieve or help birds from seemingly frozen bodies of water as ice and water conditions are unsafe.
  • If you become ill with influenza symptoms within 10 days after handling wild birds or other wildlife, see your health care provider. Inform your health care provider that you have been in contact with wildlife.