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Health Department Monitoring Local Area for Potential Avian Influenza in Wild Birds

Whitby, Ontario, March 22, 2023 – Durham Region Health Department is currently monitoring recent reports of dead birds that have been found in the Uxbridge area for potential avian influenza. In addition to reports from Uxbridge, the Health Department is also aware of other multiple dead bird sightings in other jurisdictions throughout the greater Toronto area.

“As it is currently migratory season for many bird species, residents may notice higher than usual sightings of birds that are sick or in distress, or birds that are found dead,” explained Dr. Pepi McTavish, Durham Region Associate Medical Officer of Health. “The Health Department is also closely monitoring this situation locally to determine if any of the dead or sick birds that have recently been found may be infected with avian influenza.”

According to Health Canada, signs that birds may be infected with avian influenza include:

  • lack of energy or movement
  • nervousness, tremors or lack of coordination
  • swelling around the head, neck and eyes
  • coughing, gasping for air or sneezing
  • diarrhea
  • sudden death

Residents who find dead birds on their private property are advised to bury or double bag birds and dispose of all carcasses in the garbage. The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends wearing gloves when handling wild bird carcasses and avoiding contact with blood, body fluids and feces. Hands should be washed thoroughly with soap and warm water or use hand sanitizer. Dead birds found on municipal property can be reported to the local municipality for pick-up.

Dead or sick bird sightings can also be reported to the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative using their online reporting tool or by calling 1-866-673-4781.

Pet owners are recommended to keep cats indoors and dogs on a leash to prevent contact with sick or dead wild birds as well as wild bird feces and should not feed pets any raw meat from wild birds or poultry. Pet owners can also consult with their veterinarian for more information on avian influenza in dogs and other pets.

Residents with bird feeders in their yards are urged to remove feeders from areas that are open to poultry and other domestic animals. Additionally, if you provide care for poultry, it is important to prevent and eliminate contact between wild birds and poultry by removing outdoor sources of food, water, and shelter that may attract wild birds.

For more information about avian influenza, visit the Durham Region webpage or call the Durham Health Connection Line at 905-668-2020 or 1-800-841-2729.


Media inquiries:

The Regional Municipality of Durham:

Glendene Collins – Health Department, 905-668-7711 ext. 2999 or 

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