Canada confirms first HPAI case of 2024

CFIA reports avian influenza in a Quebec commercial poultry flock.

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) was reported in commercial poultry located in Quebec, the first confirmed case for Canada in 2024.

According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), the presence of the virus was confirmed on January 3 in Papineau Regional County Municipality in Quebec. The size of the flock and the type of poultry operation involved was not reported.

The confirmed case is the 44th case in Quebec since the start of the 2022-2023 HPAI outbreak. The last reported case in Quebec was located at a commercial poultry farm in Les Maskoutains, reported on December 4.

Canada had 103 poultry flocks lost to HPAI in 2023, down from 190 reported flocks in 2022. Most provinces have also saw a year-over-year decrease. Quebec is the exception with 27 affected flocks in 2023, but 15 in 2022.

Changing approach to HPAI control

HPAI vaccination may be necessary to stop the spread of the virus globally, reported a recently published policy brief from the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH). When implemented properly, vaccination against HPAI should not impact safe trade, it added.

“There has been a global rise in HPAI outbreaks and an increase in the genetic diversity of circulating virus strains. Thus, the use of sanitary control measures alone may no longer be a sustainable solution to effectively contain the disease,” the statement said.

“However, poultry vaccination can no longer be excluded from the available alternatives and should be considered a complementary tool.”