Ontario has had its second confirmed case of avian influenza, after the virus was detected at a broiler breeder farm in Oxford County. The new avian influenza case was reported April 18 by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

Preliminary testing by the Province of Ontario has confirmed the presence of H5 avian influenza at the broiler breeder farm. Further testing by the CFIA is underway to confirm pathogenicity and to determine the precise subtype and strain of the virus. Initial tests for the disease were conducted on April 17 at the Animal Health Laboratory at the University of Guelph, after the chicken farm experienced sudden deaths of birds over several days.

CFIA placed the broiler breeder farm under quarantine to control disease spread and the poultry industry has been notified to adopt enhanced biosecurity practices.

As lead response agency the CFIA will ensure the quarantine of the infected farm, and determine a surrounding surveillance zone for further testing and movement control measures. The CFIA will also lead on required depopulation of birds, while the province will provide technical support on required carcass disposal. Once all birds have been removed, the CFIA will oversee the cleaning and disinfection of the barns, vehicles, equipment and tools to eliminate any infectious material that may remain.

Ontario’s first case of avian influenza was confirmed on April 7 in a commercial turkey flock near Woodstock.

To date, Ontario and British Columbia are the only two provinces in Canada with confirmed avian influenza cases.