Two cases of animal Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) has been confirmed in wild birds from the Northwest Territories (NWT). This brings the total to three cases found in the NWT to date.
One raven (Corvus corax) was found dead in the Dehcho Region on October 26th and another on October 28th, 2022. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources submitted the specimens to the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative (CWHC) for Avian Influenza testing and cause of death investigation. Both birds tested Matrix and H5 PCR positive for Avian Influenza Virus on December 16.
There have been no other cases reported, and no indication of an outbreak in the NWT at this time. As well, there have been no reports of sick birds with symptoms consistent with avian influenza from any agriculture or environmental operators.
In 2022, 83 birds from the NWT have been tested for HPAI with only three positive tests detected to date. There are currently no outstanding samples to be analyzed.
NWT residents should note that there have been no instances of human infection reported through the outbreak seen across Canada this year.
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 spill over into domestic and agricultural birds. This year’s strain has been identified as H5N1.
The outbreak continues in other jurisdictions as birds continue their migration southward. The risk to birds in the NWT at this time of year is exceedingly low as the majority of migratory birds have left the north for the winter season.
As a general guideline, individuals should not handle dead wild birds or live birds that are acting strangely. If you see sick, injured, or dead wildlife, call your ENR Regional Office or contact the ENR Wildlife Health Program at WildlifeVeterinarian@gov.nt.ca.
- Details on things to watch out for, what to do, and who to call: Avian Influenza – What You Need to Know
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