FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT HPAI
Have a question about Avian Influenza? Here's a list of our most frequently asked questions to help you out!
AVIAN INFLUENZA FAQ
Avian Influenza is a highly contagious flu virus that can potentially affect any bird. It is classified in two categories: Low Pathogenicity (LPAI) and High Pathogenicity (HPAI). Both strains are considered reportable diseases worldwide. The current outbreak is a highly pathogenic strain meaning it has a very high mortality rate for infected birds.
Technically, any species of bird can be affected by avian influenza. In the current outbreak the most affected species appear to be waterfowl, gamebirds, shorebirds, corvids, and raptors.
At this time, we are seeing Canada Geese and Blue Winged Teal patients being affected in higher numbers than other birds.
Two important factors have lead to this decision:
1 - During a period of Provincial Avian Influenza Outbreak Status (lasting 90 days following the last confirmed case), guidance from the Canadian Wildlife Services state that any bird admitted to a rehabilitation centre must complete a 30-day quarantine, without sharing air or have any contact with other patients not in its cohort or any contact with wild birds. This causes significant strain on Wildlife Haven’s campus facilities as we have limited indoor rooms, space and limited ability to adapting outdoor enclosures to ensure zero interaction with even the smallest wild songbird. We remain committed to abiding to the Federal Guidance to Wildlife Rehabilitation Facilities by the Canadian Wildlife Services.
2 - Avian Influenza has been shown to be asymptomatic in many common waterfowl species, especially ducks while still shedding and spreading the virus.
Please call the Manitoba Conservation TIP line for assistance with these species at 1-800-782-0076. As the situation evolves we will continually adapt our response.
Wildlife Haven will never turn away an animal in pain. In our commitment to continued animal welfare, compassionate euthanasia will remain available to eliminate suffering.
Testing is performed by swabbing the choana (mouth) and cloaca (rectum) of the bird and submitting it to the provincial lab for PCR testing.
HPAI can be spread through several routes
- Respiratory secretions (saliva, mucous, etc) from an infected bird
- Fecal matter from an infected bird
- Direct contact with an infected bird
- Direct contact with contaminated materials i.e. bird feeders, bird boxes, towels, shoes, etc
The incubation period is reported as anywhere from 3-21 days in birds. Studies show that some birds can shed the virus for several days prior to developing symptoms. Some birds may shed the virus and never show signs, remaining asymptomatic carriers for an unknown period of time.
HPAI was first detected in Canada in December 2021 in Newfoundland in Labrador.
When they arrive, all bird patients now get assessed in our field hospital to prevent them from entering our main building. In the field hospital, all biosecurity precautions are observed to protect team members, patients and resident ambassadors.
Avian Influenza has a 90-100% mortality rate in symptomatic, wild birds. When a bird is presented with symptoms, compassionate euthanasia is performed to prevent further suffering.
- Swollen eyes
- Eye discolouration
- Nasal and eye discharge
- Muscle tremors/Jerky movements
- Twisting of neck
- Drooping wings
- Ataxia -Falling over, off-balance
- Abnormal behaviour
- Sudden death
Please call the Wildlife Haven Hotline (204-878-3740) before bringing a wildlife patient to our campus. We will have additional instructions and precautions to keep you and other Wildlife Haven animals safe.
Please report deceased waterfowl or raptor sightings to the Manitoba TIP line: 1-800-782-0076
During a period of Provincial Avian Influenza Outbreak Status (lasting 90 days following the last confirmed case), guidance from the Canadian Wildlife Services state that any bird admitted to a rehabilitation centre must complete a 30-day quarantine, without sharing air or having any contact with other patients not in its cohort or any contact with wild birds.
When a bird is admitted, they are placed in a room, cage or enclosure either by themselves or in a species appropriate group for their quarantine. This allows for a period of time to observe the patient and monitor for HPAI symptom development with minimal risk of spread to many other patients. The quarantine area is set up to prevent spread of air, droplets, feces and other means of transmission of HPAI or other diseases.
Once the 30-day quarantine is complete, the patient(s) are moved to the next stage of rehabilitation at the Wildlife Haven campus.
Documented songbird cases are rare, and at this time they are considered a low risk for infection.
We have the enclosures and resource capacity for a 30-day quarantine, ensuring a safe return to the wild for rehabilitated song birds admitted to Wildlife Haven.
We have the enclosures and resource capacity for a 30-day quarantine, ensuring a safe return to the wild for rehabilitated raptors admitted to Wildlife Haven.
Every raptor is thoroughly examined by our medical team, and if there are any concerns for HPAI, the raptor is compassionately euthanized. Documented cases of HPAI in raptors have been reported to become symptomatic quickly, thus making the 30-day quarantine quite effective as a preventative measure for this patient group.
The Canadian Wildlife Health Collective reports confirmed cases.
Please report deceased waterfowl or raptor sightings to the Manitoba TIP line: 1-800-782-0076
The influenza virus does not survive as well in the environment at higher temperatures, so hopefully things will calm down as the weather warms up. However, there is a chance of recurrence as temperatures drop and migration occurs in the fall, so we will continue to monitor the situation as it progresses.
Out of an abundance of caution, Wildlife Haven suggests removing bird feeders as the best way to help protect all birds.
Why? Avian influenza can spread via secretions from infected birds onto feeding areas and water sources and poses a severe threat to avian populations. Studies have shown that avian influenza can survive in aquatic environments, such as cold freshwater in your birdbaths for multiple weeks. If HPAI-infected birds come into contact with your birdbaths, this will increase the likelihood of infecting others.
If secretions from infected birds are left on feeding areas, such as bird feeders, this will also increase the likelihood of infecting others. Studies have shown that the virus can persist on various surfaces, if not appropriately disinfected. Removing birdbaths and bird feeders will help mitigate the risk of spreading this highly contagious virus, by discouraging them from congregating in these areas.
The birds will be ok without the bird feeders, but if you want to help them we would suggest planting “bird-friendly” native plants in your yard this Spring, such as milkweed, sunflowers, virginia creeper, etc. This reduces the ability for disease to spread within feeders, while still providing a natural food source!
Bird feeders encourage birds to artificially group together, which may give the virus more opportunity to spread. This short-term action is recommended out of an abundance of caution for Manitoba’s wild bird population.
HPAI is considered a zoonotic disease, meaning people can be infected. However, human cases have not been reported in North America in the current outbreak, and are overall considered rare.
Domestic birds are susceptible to HPAI. The federal government has advice for protecting your pet bird or backyard poultry from infection. https://inspection.canada.ca/animal-health/terrestrial-animals/diseases/backyard-flocks-and-pet-birds/eng/1323643634523/1323644740109
HPAI has been uncommonly documented in pigs, horses, dogs, cats and ferrets. All domestic animals should be kept away from wild birds, alive or deceased. https://inspection.canada.ca/animal-health/terrestrial-animals/diseases/reportable/avian-influenza/pets-and-h5n1/eng/1375992449648/1375992451039
A 1:10 dilution of bleach to water can be used. It is important to allow the solution to sit on the surface or object for 10 minutes prior to wiping away or rinsing.
No, please do not attempt to rehabilitate injured, sick or orphaned wildlife on your own. This poses safety concerns for you and the animal. It is also illegal to do without a permit.
Wildlife Haven has a team of certified wildlife rehabilitators that will help guide you through the situation. Please call the Wildlife Haven Hotline: 204-878-3740
Yes, you may still go to the duck pond. However, we recommend disinfecting your shoes upon return. And please always remember to respect the wild animals. Give them plenty of space!
Call us and we can give you instructions. There may be a safe way to relocate goslings and ducklings within the same pond. Please call the Wildlife Haven Hotline for further advice at 204-878-3740
Human cases are considered rare, but if you have concerns they should be discussed with your healthcare provider.
Yes, however Wildlife Haven is following strict HPAI protocols to protect the transmission of the virus to any patients currently in care and avian ambassadors. Please call the Wildlife Haven Hotline at 204-878-3740 before bringing in any sick, injured or orphaned wildlife.
The avian ambassadors are currently isolated in the indoor ambassador wing of the Wildlife Haven campus. A limited number of staff and volunteers are permitted to enter the ambassador wing, while following strict HPAI and PPE protocols. The avian ambassadors are not currently being taken off-site for events.
Yes, we are still offering our Frogs, Scales and RepTales presentation. This presentation features our reptile and amphibian ambassadors. We are not offering any presentations featuring our avian ambassadors at this time. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Yes! The Education Team is providing the highest quality of care to all ambassadors at Wildlife Haven. The dedicated staff and volunteers caring for the avian ambassadors are ensuring that the feeding, cleaning and enrichment of the ambassadors is done daily. They are taking extra steps to enrich, challenge and stimulate the ambassadors and add new items to their habitats such as toys, perches and greenery to keep them happy, learning and comfortable throughout this time. Check out our social media pages for some behind-the-scenes footage and glimpses of our ambassador friends!
The education team is working so hard to provide all of the ambassadors with good enrichment activities - keeping them healthy and stimulated during their time in quarantine. We are currently looking for the following items:
- Artificial plants
- Artificial trees
- NEW dog and/or cat toys (moving balls, chew toys, toys with string, etc)
- Phone Books (the owls love these)
- Empty tissue boxes
- Empty egg cartons
- Pet Smart or Pet Value gift cards
The ambassadors will greatly appreciate your help during this time! Thank you!!
Drop off instructions:
1. Any of these items can be dropped off at the Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre located at 1028 Arnould Rd. in Ile des Chenes - in bags, please.
2. We are open from 9 am to 5 pm, 7 days per week.
3. Upon arrival, please use the Animal Intake entrance located on the side of the building.
4. Please specify that you are making a donation to the Ambassadors.
No, we are not currently open to the public at this time. Please contact us before dropping off an animal or a donation so we can make sure that someone will be available to assist you : 204-878-3740
All volunteers and staff are provided with appropriate PPE when working with any species at Wildlife Haven to avoid all zoonotic disease transmission.
Yes! We are taking many precautions to help protect our staff, volunteers, patients and avian Ambassadors. The risk of transmission of HPAI to humans is very low.
You can help Wildlife Haven in 4 ways during these challenging times:
1. Donate: we need help keep our patients and ambassadors safe during the HPAI outbreak, and support all of Wildlife Haven’s important work. To help protect wildlife, please donate today at: www.wildlifehaven.ca/donate
2. Give a gift to our resident ambassadors to help them during their time in quarantine! (click here for more information)
3. Please report deceased waterfowl or raptor sightings to the Manitoba TIP line: 1-800-782-0076
4. If you find sick, injured or orphaned wildlife, please call the Wildlife Haven Hotline at 204-878-3740.
For ALL of Wildlife Haven's updates on Avian Influenza, click here.
Avian Influenza in Songbirds and Corvids