Infectious diseases & vaccines Infectious diseases Avian flu (influenza)

Avian influenza (flu)

On July 29, 2015, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) removed the final Avian Flu quarantine zones in Oxford County. More

On April 6, 2015, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza virus on a turkey farm near Woodstock, Ontario. Subsequent outbreaks were confirmed on April 18 and April 23. See list of infected premises

As an animal health investigation, the CFIA is the lead agency handling the response. The CFIA is working with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural AffairsPublic Health OntarioEmergency Management Ontario, and Oxford County Public Health.

Food safety

  • Avian influenza does not pose a risk to food safety when poultry and poultry products are properly handled and cooked. Turkey and chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 820C/1800F.

Risks to human health

  • Person-to-person transmission of avian influenza viruses is very rare. No human cases of infection with H5N2 virus strain have been detected in Canada, the U.S., or other countries.

  • In the rare occurrence people are infected, it occurs after direct contact with birds that are sick or died from highly pathogenic avian influenza. People in contact with infected birds are monitored by Public Health for 10 days to make sure they don’t become sick. In some cases antiviral medication may be recommended.

  • Symptoms take two to eight days to appear after exposure. They include high fever, cough, aching muscles, sore throat, respiratory illness, conjunctivitis (red eyes) and, sometimes, abdominal pain, chest pain or diarrhea.

  • Anyone who thinks they have symptoms of flu, and may have been exposed to avian flu, should call Public Health: 519-421-9901 or 1-800-922-0096.

CFIA avian flu investigation in Ontario

Details about the CFIA's investigation in southern Ontario, including:

  • timeline
  • news releases
  • number of birds infected
  • questions and answers

can be found on the CFIA website here: Avian flu investigation in Ontario - 2015

Information for owners of small and backyard flocks

OMAFRA advises owners of small or backyard flocks to be aware of risks to their birds from diseases like avian influenza.

Several resources are available online to explain how to protect your flock. These resources advise owners to:

  • restrict access to birds;
  • use biosecurity practices;
  • look for signs of disease; and
  • report sick birds.

If you suspect any health concerns in your flock, please contact:

  • your veterinarian
  • your Feather Board, or call 1-877-SOS-BYRD

If you have questions about your own health, please call Public Health at 519-421-9901 or 1-800-922-0096.

More information about how to protect your flock:

Avian influenza advisory for small flock owners and bird fanciers, April 21 (OMAFRA)

Biosecurity recommendations for small flock poultry owners (OMAFRA)

Chick days and a free biosecurity kit for your poultry (OMAFRA)

OMAFRA Advisories:
Working with wild and domestic birds - Apr. 29
Working with wild birds - Apr. 29

Other resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Avian Influenza A Virus Infections in Humans

OMAFRA Agriculture Information Centre: 1-877-424-1300 |