KFL&A Public Health confirms avian influenza in wild birds in Kingston

KFL&A Public Health.

After a significant clean up of dead geese along part of Kingston’s waterfront, Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) Public Health have confirmed the deceased birds were infected with avian influenza.

Avian influenza, also known as bird flu, infects wild birds such as geese, ducks, and shore birds, and can infect domestic poultry, according to a release from KFL&A Public Health.

As previously reported, the City of Kingston, alongside volunteers from Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre, captured sick and deceased geese at Lake Ontario Park and along Front Road on Friday, Feb. 2, 2024.

According to the release, the risk of transmission of avian flu to humans is low as the virus does not typically pass from birds to humans; public health is reminding all residents to avoid contact with sick or dead wild or domestic birds.

In the release, KFL&A Public Health shared these tips to protect yourself, your pets, and domestic birds:

  • Do not handle or feed wild birds.
  • Ensure pets are kept away from sick or dead birds or animals.
  • Avoid contact with surfaces that appear to be contaminated with feces from wild birds.
  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water immediately after unavoidable contact with birds or their droppings.
  • Protect backyard flocks from contact with wild birds.

As another layer of protection, KFL&A Public Health recommends that all residents get their annual flu shot. Although the seasonal influenza vaccine does not prevent infection with avian flu viruses, it can reduce the risk of getting sick with human and avian flu viruses at the same time, public health noted.

“If handling sick or dead wild birds is unavoidable, the Public Health Agency of Canada recommends wearing gloves and avoiding contact with blood, body fluids and feces. Hands should be washed thoroughly with soap and warm water or use hand sanitizer containing at least 60 per cent alcohol. Residents who find dead birds on private property are advised to double-bag bird carcasses and consult their municipality for disposal instructions,” Public Health instructed.

“Dead birds found on municipal property can be reported to the local municipality for pick-up. Dead or sick bird sightings can also be reported to the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative using their online reporting tool or by calling 1-866-673-4781.”

For more information on avian influenza, visit kflaph.ca/AvianInfluenza

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