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Manitoba investigating suspected case of avian flu

Manitoba investigating suspected case of avian flu

Samples from Waskada and Dauphin are being tested

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Manitoba may be the latest Canadian province to have at least one confirmed case of avian influenza.

A Manitoba Government bulletin from April 14 confirmed the provincial ministries of natural resources and agriculture are investigating a possible case of avian flu in wild birds.

“Samples from several birds in southwestern Manitoba near Waskada and a single sample collected in the Dauphin area are being tested,” the document says. “Further updates are anticipated in the coming days as confirmatory diagnostic testing is being completed.”

A government update provided to on the morning of April 19 indicates more information will be coming “soon.”

Wild birds and commercial poultry flocks in Canada and the U.S. have tested positive for the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) strain H5N1.

Manitoba Agriculture is encouraging poultry owners to take precautions.

“Small flocks are considered at high risk for HPAI infection as they often have access to outdoor pens or free range,” the bulletin says. “This means there is a high probability of contact with wild birds that may be contaminated with the HPAI virus. Small flock owners are encouraged to confine their birds indoors, if at all possible, during this high-risk period of wild bird migration.”

The spread of bird flu has even led to the temporary closure of an exhibit at the Canadian Museum of Nature.

The museum in Ottawa, Ont. is closing its Owls Rendez-Vous exhibit to protect the birds from avian flu.

The exhibit, which opened last summer, features multiple owls and a bald eagle. It lets visitors see the birds in their specially designed habitats.

“We have proactively moved the birds to a safe place as a temporary measure,” an update on the museum’s Instagram page says. “We are working on modifying the bird habitat to ensure the birds’ safety. They will return soon!”

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