Third suspected case of avian flu found in Nunavut

Canadian Wildlife Services detected latest case in a herring gull near Sanikiluaq

A third suspected case of avian flu has been detected in Nunavut. The first two were found in Sanikiluaq and Cambridge Bay, the government said in an Aug. 5 news release (File photo)

By Nunatsiaq News

The Canadian Wildlife Services has detected a third suspected case of avian flu in Nunavut.

The latest case was found in a herring gull on Tukarak Island near Sanikiluaq. It was detected during surveillance testing in the region, according to a news release from the Government of Nunavut on Friday.

Avian or bird flu is a viral infection found among birds, including domestic poultry and wild birds such as ducks and geese.

Confirmed cases have been detected in birds in all 10 provinces and the Yukon so far.

In Nunavut, the first two suspected cases of avian flu were found in Sanikiluaq and Cambridge Bay, the GN said in an Aug. 5 news release.

The cases were found in a thick-billed murre and a herring gull. The GN said both samples were being sent for testing, with results expected in the coming weeks.

There is no evidence to suggest avian flu can be transmitted to humans and the risk of infection for the general public is considered low, according to the release.

It is highly infectious among birds, however. Possible signs of the flu include trembling or lack of co-ordination, swelling around the head, neck and eyes, diarrhea or sudden death.

The Health Department advises anyone who notices unusual deaths or illnesses among birds to contact the local conservation office.

For Nunavummiut who engage in wild bird and egg harvesting, the GN recommends minimizing the risk of spreading avian flu by using gloves, washing hands regularly, and cleaning soiled clothes and equipment as soon as possible.

The GN also recommends anyone who feels very sick after handling a bird to contact their local health centre.


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