Avian Influenza Virus & West Nile Virus

Avian Influenza Virus and West Nile Virus are a public health concern because they can infect humans, and they sometimes cause severe disease.

While wild birds are not a common cause of human exposure to Avian Influenza Virus or West Nile Virus in B.C., they can carry the viruses. Knowing how many birds are carrying these viruses can give us an early warning of infection risk to humans or livestock.

The B.C. Interagency Wild Bird Mortality Investigation Protocol is a cooperative program between the Canadian and B.C. governments. It was developed to guide response to reports of bird diseases and deaths.  It also serves to coordinate surveillance for Avian Influenza Virus and West Nile Virus in B.C.

All bird carcasses submitted through the program are tested for Avian Influenza Virus and West Nile Virus. The provincial veterinary diagnostic lab performs a general exam to try and find out what caused a bird’s death.