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Hundreds Of Birds Have Died As Avian Influenza Spreads In Quebec

What to do if you have to move a dead bird, according to the government.👇

Senior Editor
Gannets fly around Quebec's Île Bonaventure.

Gannets fly around Quebec's Île Bonaventure.

Hundreds of birds have been found dead in Quebec's Îles de la Madeleine in recent weeks due to what the government has confirmed is avian influenza. Though the Ministry of Wildlife, Forests and Parks (MFFP) said in a May 24 press release that the virus is "rarely transmitted" to humans, it has nevertheless shared guidelines on how to properly dispose of bird carcasses if they must be moved.

Outside of the Îles de la Madeleine, carcasses can "generally" be thrown away with household waste, the MFFP explained. It encourages Quebec residents to wear gloves and place dead birds in plastic bags before putting them in the trash. Then, the ministry recommends hand-washing with either soap and water or a "hydro-alcoholic solution with a minimum of 60% alcohol."

On the islands, the situation has become so acute that there are now dedicated teams combing beaches for dead birds. Bird carcasses on private property can be bagged and brought to one of six designated on-island drop-off points.

According to the MFFP, the spread of avian influenza among wild birds in Quebec isn't a surprise. The virus has been circulating in Europe since 2020. In Ireland, avian influenza has been detected among members of the same species that's been particularly affected in the Îles de la Madeleine, the gannet, a white seabird with six known breeding colonies in Eastern Canada.

While the virus is less of a threat to humans, poultry is "particularly susceptible," the ministry said in May — and an outbreak could have "devastating" consequences for the industry.

The ministry is asking poultry owners to watch their birds' health and follow "strict prevention and biosecurity measures."

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