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Animal Health Officials in Canada Prepared for Dealing with Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza

The coordinator of the Western Canadian Animal Health Network says keeping H5N1 out of Canada is the priority but animal health officials are prepared if a suspect case is reported.Last month USDA reported Influenza A type H5N1 virus, known as Highly Pathogenic  Avian Influenza, was detected in milk and in dairy cattle in Texas and Kansas and, since then, detections have been confirmed in 33 dairy herds in eight states, in baby goats in one herd in Minnesota and one dairy farm worker has tested positive for the virus.

Dr. Barbara Wilhelm, the coordinator of the Western Canadian Animal Health Network, says there have been no cases identified in mammals in Canada and the goal is to keep it out of Canada.

Quote-Dr. Barbara Wilhelm-Western Canadian Animal Health Network:

Industry, the provinces, the federal government, veterinarians, regional surveillance networks like WeCAHN, we're all planning for how to, as much as possible, prevent the opportunity for Avian Influenza to come into the country and come onto Canadian farms and planning for, should that happen, what to do if a producer or a veterinarian suspects a case.

All of these groups are sharing information on how to prevent introduction of H5N1 or Avian Influenza in Canadian farms.The practitioners have been pretty busy.They're learning as much as they can about what the virus could look like in cattle and what to do if, in the future, they see a suspect case, again remembering that so far there have been no detections in Canada to date.

They're hearing lots of questions from their clients mostly about the risk to their animals or to their workers and their families.They are also reviewing with their clients biosecurity plans and procedures with the aim of keeping Avian Influenza and other pathogens for that matter out of their farms and their herds.

For the diagnostic labs, it's important to realize that they were already very accustomed to testing samples from poultry and wild birds for Avian Influenza and in some cases in testing wild mammals as well.Veterinary diagnostic labs have a test that can detect the virus and so they're ready should the need arise.
The western veterinary colleges both have outbreak investigation units and those folks are also ready to support western veterinarians if the need arises.

Updates on the High Path Avian Influenza situation and links to various resources can be found at

Source :

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