Nunavut confirms 1st case of avian flu in thick-billed murres

There have been three suspected cases of bird flu in the territory, and now one case has been confirmed, according to the Government of Nunavut.

The Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) and the territory’s health department confirmed the announcement of the case in a news release Thursday.

The case was first detected on July 12 in a Thick-billed Murre living on Coats Island, at the northern end of Hudson Bay, during surveillance trials conducted by the Canadian Wildlife Service. .

In early August, a suspected case appeared in a herring gull on Tukarak Island near Sanikiluaq. Influenza was also suspected in a herring gull near Cambridge Bay.

All 10 provinces and the Yukon have detected avian flu in wild and domestic birds, and there have been widespread cases in the United States.

The risk of bird flu to the general public is considered low, according to the statement.

« There is no evidence to suggest that the bird flu virus can be transmitted to humans through the consumption of game birds or fully cooked eggs, » the statement read in part.

« In general, human cases of avian influenza are caused by close and prolonged contact with live or dead infected poultry or
contaminated environments. »

People handling or harvesting wild birds and eggs should wear gloves, wash their hands with soap and water, and clean dirty clothing and equipment as soon as possible, the department said.

Signs that birds may have bird flu include nervousness, shaking or lack of coordination, swelling around the head, neck and eyes, and diarrhea or sudden death.

The presence of several dead birds in an area is also a sign that the virus is present.

Anyone who feels sick after handling a bird should contact their local health center.

Bird death or illness should be reported to the local conservation officer.


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