The Canadian government is
going to expand its testing of migratory birds for avian flu this year, aiming to test twice
as many birds as in 2005.
Plans for Canada's Inter-agency Wild Bird Influenza Survey 2006 have been
announced by representatives of Environment Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection
Agency, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife
The testing will be conducted through spring, summer
and autumn and will have a special focus on the North Atlantic region and
include sampling in Iceland. Birds from both North America and Europe migrate
from Iceland and officials fear birds migrating to North America may become
infected by European birds. The 2006 Canadian survey will also include expanded
testing of dead birds.
The survey partners expect to find a variety
of AI viruses, most of which commonly circulate in wild birds with little
further impact. Survey partners are most interested in AI viruses that are or
have the potential to become highly pathogenic. The H5N1 virus strain currently
circulating in Asia, Africa and Europe has demonstrated the ability to affect
poultry and wild birds, as well as humans and other mammals.
has developed strategies to respond to all anticipated AI findings in wild bird
populations. In the case of a finding of a highly pathogenic strain of H5N1 in
wild birds, a comprehensive response strategy would be implemented, including
the establishment of quarantine zones with movement restrictions on commercial
poultry and poultry products.