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One case of avian influenza found in Halifax

Virus is harmless to people but potentially deadly for birds, says province

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A seagull takes flight from a snowy parking lot.
caption The province is urging the public not to handle sick or dead birds due to an outbreak of Avian flu.
Lane Harrison

Avian influenza has been detected in Halifax, Nova Scotia’s Department of Natural Resources and Renewables announced in a news release Tuesday.

A Canada goose in the Grand Desert area of Halifax Regional Municipality, about 30 kilometres east of Dartmouth, tested positive for avian influenza, also known as bird flu, on Friday. 

“Avian influenza poses little risk to people, but the virus is highly infectious and potentially deadly in wild and domestic birds,” Bob Petrie, the department’s director of wildlife, said in the release. 

“We urge the public to avoid feeding or handling wild birds like ducks, geese, pheasants, pigeons and gulls to prevent disease spread.” 

There are at least 15 types of avian influenza. Some species have a high likelihood of severe infection or death as a result, while others, like ducks, can carry the virus without symptoms. 

The release asks the public not to handle live, sick or dead wild birds. They should instead contact the department at 1-800-565-2224 to notify them of sick or dead birds. 

Avian influenza has been detected in other parts of Canada and the eastern United States, the release said. 

The federal government and other agencies will work with the province to assess the situation.

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About the author

Lane Harrison

Lane Harrison is a fourth-year multimedia journalist from Toronto, Ontario. He works as the editor-in-chief of the Dalhousie Gazette, Dalhousie's...

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