AHL will no longer require negative AI result for avian postmortem submissions

Posted on Friday, January 20th, 2023

January 20th, 2023

To our valued poultry clients:

You are receiving this note as you have submitted avian samples to AHL in the past. As you may be aware, notifications related to H5N1 avian influenza in Ontario have decreased markedly as the fall migration has now concluded. No newly infected commercial poultry premises have been identified since Dec. 21.


Therefore, AHL will no longer be automatically swabbing birds submitted for postmortem to the Guelph and Kemptville laboratories. Only those cases with a significant increase in mortality or undetermined respiratory signs will be tested for AI as part of the standard diagnostic protocol.

We thank you for your patience as you experienced delays in postmortem diagnoses due to enhanced AI surveillance this past year. Your assistance in supporting CFIA and the poultry industry has been invaluable in ensuring rapid detection of this pathogen and a quick regulatory response.

Unfortunately, it is expected that H5N1 avian influenza will re-emerge later this year as the spring migration commences. Therefore, there is a high probability that the pre-postmortem swabbing protocol will be reinstated. We will certainly inform you as soon as this occurs.

If there are any questions or concerns regarding this policy, please contact one of the avian pathologists or one of us.

As a reminder, here is a link to the AHL Labnote 65 – AI testing protocols for practitioners.



Jim Fairles, Client Services Veterinarian

Maria Spinato, Director

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