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Island gannets affected by avian flu

Photo: Jean-François Rail/ Service canadien de la Faune

Îles de la Madeleine

The Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs du Québec (MFFP) has confirmed the presence of avian influenza in the gannets found dead on the beaches of the archipelago.

Among the hundreds of birds that died in the last few days, five specimens were analyzed at the Centre québécois sur la santé des animaux sauvages (CQSAS) and at the laboratory of the Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation (MAPAQ).

According to the MFFP, the influenza strain affecting gannets has been circulating in Quebec since early April, and more widely in North America since last December.

The viral infection would have been introduced to the continent by migratory birds from Europe, where it was first identified in 2020.

The risk to human health is currently considered low, but domestic poultry may be at risk.

Poultry farmers are asked to take precautions when in close contact with their animals.

It is also important to remember that direct contact with sick or dead animals should be avoided.

Discussions are underway regarding the recovery of carcasses.

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