Information concerning the avian influenza infection on the territory

Information concerning the avian influenza infection on the territory of the Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier Municipality

The Municipality wants to express its solidarity with the poultry producers on our territory concerning the avian influenza. There has always been a good cohabitation between the agricultural and urban environment and the Municipality would like this to continue during this difficult period. We know that the noxious odour problem is unpleasant for citizens, but it is unfortunately unavoidable but most of all temporary.

The Fédération des éleveurs de volailles du Québec and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) have given us more details on the current situation in our Municipality.

The CFIA confirms that there are three commercial turkey sites that are infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). Unfortunately, a fourth site was added on Thursday, July 21. These infections do not pose an environmental or public health risk.

Since the confirmation of the virus at the sites, the CFIA has taken control of the operations which include:

  • sample submission and analysis;
  • travel restrictions and controls, e.g., quarantines, permits to access sites with poultry;
  • epidemiological investigation (tracking of movements and links between the infected site and other locations);
  • destruction and disposal of carcasses;
  • cleaning and disinfection of the breeding premises.

At present, the following steps have been completed:

  • humane depopulation using internationally recognized methods
  • carcasses are being disposed of by composting in accordance with provincial and municipal requirements. Composting is a common method of disposal.
  • The CFIA works directly with commercial livestock producers and composting companies to create site-specific destruction and disposal plans and conduct a risk assessment. Requirements for these plans include:
  • A minimum distance must separate composting areas from certain sensitive elements, including wells, waterways, nearby homes and public roads;
  • Compost windrows must not be placed on organic soils;
  • A layer of substrate should cover the windrow to mitigate odours from decomposing cadavers.
  • At infected sites, all composting operations are done or will be done inside buildings. The CFIA supervises the operations to ensure that they are conducted as safely as possible and that all precautionary measures are taken to prevent the potential spread of HPAI. To date:
  • Composting at the 1st site is completed.
  • Composting at the 2nd site is scheduled to be completed on July 22, 2022.
  • Composting at the 3rd site is scheduled to begin on July 25, 2022, and will continue for approximately two weeks.
  • Composting at the 4th site will follow.
  • The odours emanating from the decomposition of the carcasses are, we agree, quite unpleasant. However, the composting activities should progressively reduce the odours as the work progresses.

In addition, there is no evidence to suggest that eating cooked poultry or eggs could transmit HPAI to humans. All evidence to date indicates that thorough cooking of the meat will kill the virus.

The latest information on HPAI outbreaks is available on the CFIA website.

For backyard flocks

We would also like to remind owners of farmed birds to enhance their biosecurity measures and to comply with the Regulation respecting the sanitary conditions applicable to places where birds are kept in captivity. We also recommend that owners of farmed birds, both on commercial farms and in backyards, take the following precautions

  • Avoid direct or indirect contact between farmed and wild birds;
  • If your birds must have access to an outdoor pen, a net over the pen should prevent wild birds from landing there;
  • Avoid attracting wild birds by having food or water near the coop.
  • Limit access to the farm to authorized persons only. Ensure that these people follow the biosecurity measures in place.
  • Clean and disinfect motor vehicles before they enter the breeding premises.
  • Avoid gatherings of birds.

We appeal to the vigilance of poultry owners, for example, owners of urban chickens. They should watch for signs of avian influenza in their birds: lack of energy and appetite, decreased egg production and the laying of many soft-shelled eggs or eggs with no shell, swelling of the head, eyelids, crest, wattles and hocks, coughing, sneezing, nervous signs, diarrhea, lack of coordination or sudden death. In case of unusual mortalities or signs of the disease, contact the CFIA hotline at 450-768-6763.

Thank you, dear citizens for your support and understanding, and good luck to the poultry producers as they work through this crisis.