Avian influenza (AI), commonly known as “bird flu”, is a contagious viral infection that can affect several species of food producing birds as well as pet birds and wild birds. AI viruses can be classified into 2 categories: low pathogenicity (LPAI) and high pathogenicity (HPAI) viruses, based on the severity of the illness caused in birds.
In Canada, highly pathogenic avian influenza and low pathogenicity H5 and H7 avian influenza viruses are considered to be Notifiable Avian Influenza, which is a reportable disease under the Health of Animals Act. All cases must be reported to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
What the clinical signs of avian influenza are
Some or all of the following clinical signs are evident in infected birds:
- a drop in production of eggs, many of which are soft-shelled or shell-less
- haemorrhages on the hock
- high and sudden mortality rate
- quietness and extreme depression
- swelling of the skin under the eyes
- wattles and combs become swollen and congested
The incubation period of AI ranges from 2 to 14 days.
The signs of AI (or more commonly known as bird flu) are very similar to those seen with Velogenic Newcastle Disease and other poultry diseases.
For more info on Avian influenza (AI), please see the following links:
- Avian Influenza Fact Sheet: https://inspection.canada.ca/animal-health/terrestrial-animals/diseases/reportable/avian-influenza/fact-sheet/eng/1356193731667/1356193918453
- Avian Biosecurity – Protect Poultry, Prevent Disease: https://inspection.canada.ca/animal-health/terrestrial-animals/biosecurity/standards-and-principles/avian-biosecurity/eng/1344748344710/1344748451521
- Protect your flock from bird flu: https://inspection.canada.ca/animal-health/terrestrial-animals/diseases/reportable/avian-influenza/protect-your-flock/eng/1614352583029/1614352660146
- Avian Influenza (AI) – What to expect if your animals are infected: https://inspection.canada.ca/animal-health/terrestrial-animals/diseases/reportable/avian-influenza/what-to-expect-if-your-animals-are-infected/eng/1334853795705/1334853885674
- General Producer Guide – National Avian On-Farm Biosecurity Standard: https://inspection.canada.ca/animal-health/terrestrial-animals/biosecurity/standards-and-principles/general-producer-guide/eng/1398640321596/1398640379048
- Animal Nutrition Association of Canada (ANAC) Info: https://www.anacan.org/feed-industry/public-resources/highly-pathogenic-avian-influenza-2022/