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Avian flu strikes the Haut-Saint-Laurent, again

Image of a coloured coded map of Haute-Saint-Laurent
Eight cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza HPAI have been identified in the Haut Saint Laurent and Beauharnois Salaberry regions The map identifies the infected zones in red and the primary control zones in purple corresponding to this outbreak Map courtesy of Canadian Food Inspection Agency


The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) reports that at least eight cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) have been confirmed in commercial flocks in the Haut-Saint-Laurent and Beauharnois-Salaberry regions since the start of 2023.

According to information on the CFIA website, five active cases have been identified in the MRC de Beauharnois-Salaberry. The most recent cases confirmed in the MRC du Haut-Saint-Laurent were reported by the CFIA on February 8, while previous cases were detected on February 2 and January 31.

The agency has not disclosed any further information regarding the types of poultry operations involved in this outbreak, other than to classify them all as commercial flocks.

This is the first time HPAI cases have been confirmed in commercial enterprises in both MRCs; however, a case was confirmed in a backyard flock in the Haut-Saint-Laurent last May.

In an attempt to control the further spread of the highly contagious virus, the CFIA has established three overlapping primary control zones that include the municipalities of Ormstown, Howick, Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague, Saint-Etienne-de-Beauharnois, and Sainte-Martine. The control zones also extend into sections of Huntingdon, Hinchinbrooke, Godmanchester, Saint-Stanislas-de-Kostka, Franklin, Très-Saint-Sacrement, Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, and Beauharnois.

It is recommended that all poultry producers and others in the industry avoid traveling unnecessarily within these zones. The CFIA has also mandated that producers within the control zones obtain permits to move birds into, out of, within, or through these protected areas. The movement of bird products and by products, as well as material exposed to birds, are also included in the CFIA decree.

Producers, as well as the owners of small or backyard flocks, are asked to be especially vigilant in looking for signs of the disease in their birds, to avoid all contact between domestic and wild birds, to sever all links between backyard and commercial flocks, and to apply preventive biosecurity measures to protect their birds and limit any possible spread.

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