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Single Case of Avian Flu Found in NWT

A single case of animal Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) has been confirmed in the Northwest Territories.

The case was in a herring gull found in Yellowknife’s Niven Lake neighbourhood. The bird was submitted by an individual to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources North Slave Regional Office in mid-June. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency indicated the positive result in September.

There have been no other cases reported, nor any indication of a local outbreak. No reports of abnormal behaviour or sick birds have been received from those running agriculture operations. In total, 54 birds have been tested for HPAI, with only one positive case to date. Since the beginning of the outbreak in Canada, there have been no instances of human infection reported.

Avian Influenza affects domestic and wild birds around the world. This year’s strain is known as HPAI because the strain is highly infectious and more likely to infect domestic and agricultural birds. This year’s strain has been identified as H5N1.

The outbreak continues in other jurisdictions – though with fall migration well-underway, the risk to the NWT is receding slowly. Caution is still necessary. Brush up on best practices and know what to look for when you’re out. As a general guideline, do not handle dead wild birds or live birds that are acting strangely. If you see sick, injured, or dead wildlife, including wild birds, call your ENR Regional Office or contact the ENR Wildlife Health Program.

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