Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has reached North America’s Pacific Flyway for the first time in 2022.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) reported the confirmed presence of HPAI of an H5 variant in a bald eagle that had died in the metropolitan area of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The OIE report was issued on March 2.

While this case does not involve commercial poultry and should not result in any poultry trade barriers, it does mark the first case of HPAI in the Pacific Flyway.

Previously, the only case of HPAI in Canadian poultry was in a commercial turkey flock in Nova Scotia. It was also detected in wild birds and backyard birds in Nova Scotia, as well as in Newfoundland and Labrador. The most recent OIE report also revealed the presence of HPAI in an eagle in Prince Edward Island. All of those discoveries were in the Atlantic Flyway. The first case of HPAI in Canada this winter was confirmed at an exhibition farm in Newfoundland and Labrador.

HPAI has also been detected in eight commercial poultry flocks in the United States, specifically in the states of Indiana (5), Kentucky (2) and Delaware (1). Of those eight flocks, six were turkey flocks, while one was a broiler flock and the other was a layer flock. HPAI has also been confirmed in wild birds and backyard flocks in some other states in the Atlantic and Mississippi flyways, which like the Vancouver case, is not a cause for any trade bans.

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“The finding from British Columbia is likely a separate introduction from that in the Atlantic provinces,” the OIE stated in its report. 

Wildlife surveillance as well as the Canadian Avian Influenza Surveillance System (CanNAISS) activities for poultry are ongoing in Canada. 

In addition to North America, there have also been confirmed cases of HPAI in the continents of Asia, Europe and Africa.

View our continuing coverage of the global avian influenza situation.