Canada: Eight skunks in British Columbia test positive for avian influenza


news desk Lord, save her

The British Columbia government reported that tests confirmed that eight skunks found dead in late February in Richmond and Vancouver tested positive for bird flu.

Image/John Collins, US Fish and Wildlife Service

The skunks were found in residential areas of both cities and were transported to the BC Animal Health Center due to fears that they were deliberately poisoned. Tests revealed that the skunks were infected with the same strain of H5N1 avian influenza that has killed wild animals and poultry in the county since the outbreak broke out in April 2022. The skunks may have contracted the flu by scavenging infected wild birds.

Giant microbes

While influenza in skunks is considered a low risk to human health, there are always risks when people and pets come into contact with sick or dead wild animals, including skunks and birds. People who encounter a dead skunk in Richmond or Vancouver should leave the animal where it is and call the BC Wildlife Health Program at 250-751-7246.

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Since April 2022, wild animals affected by avian influenza in British Columbia have included more than 20 species of wild birds, as well as two species of skunk and one fox that were found in rural areas of the province.

Cases of H5N1 avian influenza in British Columbia are part of a larger national and international outbreak.

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