The Quebec government has confirmed the first suspected case of avian flu in Gaspésie. An infected crow has been found in the municipality of Bonaventure, according to the Quebec Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks (MFFP).
The town of New Richmond, which is part of the municipality, issued a warning to its residents on Monday asking them to report any dead or dying birds.
The Quebec government is monitoring the spread of avian flu in the province, particularly on poultry farms where the death rate among flocks is high.
In an interview with Break away, Biologist Ariane Massé, who works for Quebec’s wildlife ministry, said the find was not surprising.
“It’s normal to see wild birds carrying the virus, and especially birds like crows, they are predators and scavengers,” she said. “It is possible that this bird fed on another dead bird infected with [the virus].”
As a result, it’s not uncommon for crows to die from the virus, she said.
The crow was sent to the Quebec Wildlife Health Center in Saint-Hyacinthe, about 60 kilometers east of Montreal, where researchers conducted a post-portem examination to determine the cause of death.
The center said it suspected bird flu was the cause of death, but could not confirm it until further analysis is carried out by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. .
Efforts made to prevent the spread
Massé said waterfowl such as ducks, geese and seagulls are particularly susceptible to carrying the virus. She explained that birds spread it during their migrations.
The wildlife biosecurity and health expert urged people to refrain from touching dead or injured wild birds with their bare hands to avoid further contamination.
Instead, people should report their sighting to the Department of Wildlife, which will send officers to investigate.
Some organizations working with animals have implemented additional measures to protect their animals, such as Bioparc Bonaventure.
The park has separated its wild birds from other species, and employees must disinfect their boots when walking from one enclosure to another.
“For the moment, everything is fine,” said the general manager of the park, Marie-Josée Bernard, in an interview with Radio-Canada. “We took precautions a bit in advance because we saw what was going to happen.”
Mysterious bird deaths in the Îles-de-la-Madeleine
Meanwhile, Quebec’s wildlife ministry is also investigating a series of mysterious bird deaths in the Magdalen Islands. Many residents have reported finding dead gannets on the shore in the past few days.
“At the moment, we don’t know the cause of the death,” Massé said. Break away.
8:38First suspected case of avian flu in Gaspésie
Massé said it was still too early to know whether or not the deaths were related, but she said the ministry did not rule out bird flu, among other illnesses.
She said wildlife officers collected bird carcasses for study.
There have been 49 cases of influenza detected in wild birds and seven cases in farmed birds in the province so far this year, according to Massé.
The cases are mainly in the Eastern Townships and Montérégie region, but some have also been reported in the Laurentians, Lanaudière, Mauricie-Centre-du-Québec, Chaudière-Appalaches and the capital region. .