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A global summary of the avian influenza pandemic

A global summary of the avian influenza pandemic

Report from the FBCC says that current avian influenza is affecting 24 US states and seven Canadian provinces.

By Andrew Joseph,

According to a report released by the FBCC (Feather Board Command Centre), the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N1 is now established in North America.

After having made its deadly rounds in many European and Asian countries since the outbreak began in the autumn of 2021, the FBCC said that disease has been identified in seven Canadian provinces and 24 US states.

It said that there is now a confirmed 12 HPAI H5N1 outbreaks since December of 2021 in poultry flocks in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Ontario.

In the US, the news is equally grim, with 102 flocks having been lost over 23 states since the early days of February.

FBCC stated that in 2022, the disease has been confirmed in all four North American flyways, which has prompted legitimate concerns of an outbreak similar to the 2015 one that saw over 50 million poultry perish in North America.

Loss of life, not withstanding, the poultry loss in 2015 also severely impacted trade.

The current H5N1 influenza variant requires a very low infective dose, is highly transmissible, and is highly virulent affecting all different poultry. Adding to that, wild birds can transmit the virus without becoming sick.

North American Breakdown of HPAI H5N1 events:


Currently confirmed in six Ontario poultry flocks. The FBCC has created biosecurity advisory areas and advised all poultry farmers and small flock growers within 10 kilometres of the infected area.

On March 26, 2022, the FBCC issued an advisory for province-wide heightened biosecurity based on two suspected cases, and on March 27, 2022, it called for voluntary movement controls in two biosecurity areas pending CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) official declaration of Primary Control Zones.

Confirmed cases:

  • March 27 – commercial flock in Township of Guelph/Eramosa;
  • March 28 - commercial flock in the Township of Zorra;
  • March 29 - commercial flock in Township of Woolwich;
  • March 31 - small flock in the Township of Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation;
  • March 31 – small flock in the Township of Selwyn;
  • April 5 – commercial flock in the Township of Centre Wellington area

There are also two additional high-risk premises awaiting test results:

  • April 4 – suspect flock in the South Glengarry area;
  • April 5 – suspect flock in the Blenheim area

CFIA has established Primary Control Zones 1 and 2 to control risks associated with movement of poultry and poultry products moving in, out and/or through these areas.

Nova Scotia
On March 15, 2022, a 16-bird non-commercial flock in southern Nova Scotia was confirmed with the influenza, the fourth poultry flock to be diagnosed in the province—two have been commercial.

United States
From the outset of the outbreak on February 7, 2022 until April 4, 2022, the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) the disease within 118 poultry flocks in 24 different states.

  • Of the 72 commercial flocks, over 65% were turkey flocks.
  • Most of the bird losses have been layers, with close to 18 million layers culled.
  • Total loss of 22,851,072 poultry to date.
  • Since January 13, the US has also diagnosed HPAI H5 and H5N1 in 482 wild bird incidents across eastern and central states.

Global Summary

  • HPAI H5N1 continues to rage across Europe and Africa.
  • During March of 2022, there were 890 new infected flocks—~650 in France.
  • Close to 11 million birds in 1,112 flocks have been culled due to H5N1 in France this season.
  • Close to 70 million birds have died or been culled internationally since September 2021.
  • 2,620 poultry flocks have been infected since September 2021 in 51 countries.
  • FBCC maintains an unofficial record of global HPAI data.

Poultry owners everywhere should ensure that heightened biosecurity and sanitation protocols are always followed exhaustively.

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