Avian flu identified in Labrador gull, says Nunatsiavut government
A case of deadly avian influenza has been identified in Labrador.
According to a news release from the Nunatsiavut government, a presumptive case of the viral disease more commonly known as bird flu was found in an Iceland Gull in the region.
No other cases have been found as of Monday, but Nunatsiavut says it's working with the provincial Department of Agriculture and Environment and Climate Change Canada to monitor the spread of the virus.
Farms in Newfoundland dealt with avian influenza, H5N1, earlier this year. A total of 360 birds at Lester's Farm Chalet in St. John's died after being infected by the virus in January, while an additional 59 were put down to limit the virus' spread.
The virus can be carried in wild birds, especially waterfowl, and can cause severe illness or death in humans.
Anyone who encounters a dead or strange-acting bird is encouraged to not touch it and contact a local wildlife conservation officer. Influenza symptoms in birds can include tremors or a lack of coordination, swelling around the head, neck or eyes and coughing or gasping for air among others.
If contact is unavoidable, a person should wear gloves or hold the bird through a doubled plastic bag and wash their hands thoroughly afterwards.
However, the release said, it is still considered safe to hunt, handle and eat healthy game birds. If people choose to handle a bird, they should wear gloves while preparing it and thoroughly clean any contaminated surfaces or tools.