Skunks are dying of avian flu. What does that mean for you and your pets? – CBC

As wild birds flock to the province during spring migration, experts say precautions need to be taken

Mar 19, 2023

Experts are advising British Columbians, and pet owners in particular, to take precautions after a recent case where several skunks died of avian flu in Metro Vancouver.

On Monday, the province said eight skunks in Vancouver and nearby Richmond had died, likely after scavenging dead wild birds, and they all tested positive for the H5N1 avian influenza virus. They later confirmed the virus was the cause of the animals’ deaths.

The deaths of the skunks are part of an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian flu (HPAI) that has been affecting North America since last year, with thousands of birds culled in B.C. and significant impacts to the poultry industry.

As wild birds arrive in B.C. by the thousands for the annual spring migration, it’s leading to experts advising the public to be aware of the threat avian flu presents, and to calls for more robust surveillance of HPAI across the province.

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