Manitoba Natural Resources and Northern Development and Manitoba Agriculture are investigating a suspected case of avian influenza in wild birds in Manitoba. Cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 have been confirmed in a number of Canadian provinces and the United States, including jurisdictions immediately south of Manitoba in North Dakota and Minnesota, along the route for spring migratory birds returning to Manitoba.

The risk of avian influenza to human health is low. There are no known cases of transmission of this strain of the virus from birds to humans in North America. This strain of avian influenza does not pose a food safety risk. Manitoba poultry and eggs are safe to eat when proper handling and cooking take place. Regular food safety and hygiene precautions should be followed when preparing wild game. Hunters should avoid eating birds that are visibly ill.

Although the risk of transmission of avian influenza to humans is low, people should not touch dead birds or other wildlife with their bare hands. Protective eyewear and masks are recommended as an additional precaution. Hands should be thoroughly washed before and after with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. If a dead bird has to be handled, gloves should be worn and the dead bird placed in a plastic bag.

Manitobans are asked to contact the TIP Line (toll-free) at 1-800-782-0076, if they find any of the following:

  • clusters of six or more dead waterfowl (e.g., ducks, geese) or other water birds;
  • any number of dead raptors or avian scavengers (e.g., ravens, crows, gulls); and
  • large groups of dead birds, such as more than 20 of any species.

Follow these guidelines in the way you handle game meat:

  • Cook game meat thoroughly, to an internal temperature of approximately 74°C (165° F).
  • Follow safe food handling practices such as hand washing and keeping game products separate from other food products to avoid cross contamination.
  • Do not eat, drink, or smoke while handling raw game products.
  • Thoroughly clean contaminated surfaces on tools, work areas, and clothing.

NCN Land Guardians Contact
Ed Primrose: 204-679-4248
JP Primrose: 204-307-0934