The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) in a small flock in Sturgeon County. The CFIA confirmed the case on Thursday (Apr.21). 

Avian influenza, or bird flu, is a contagious viral infection that can affect several species of food-producing birds, pet birds and wild birds. On rare occasions, bird flu viruses can cause disease in humans. 

Wild birds, especially waterfowl, are natural reservoirs of influenza viruses. They are generally not affected by the disease but can still transmit it to domestic birds. 

“Recently, Alberta poultry farms have tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza, which was previously detected in migratory waterfowl, backyard flocks and commercial poultry flocks in the eastern United States, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and in a wild bird in Vancouver,” stated Alberta minister of agriculture, forestry, and rural economic development, Nate Horner. 

“We are in regular contact with the CFIA, industry, producers and other stakeholders to ensure a timely, coordinated and effective response.” 

The Sturgeon County flock has been placed under quarantine, and a Primary Control Zone has been established to prevent the spread of the disease.  

The CFIA urges owners of small or backyard flocks to be vigilant and put preventative measures in place.