Update from the Director

View from Directors office 2022

The view from the Director's office

Unfortunately, the prediction of an outbreak of H5N1 highly-pathogenic avian influenza materialized in late March, and the infection has been diagnosed in 20 commercial flocks and 6 small flocks to date, in addition to innumerable wild birds.  AHL developed an AI Response Team to manage daily submissions from CFIA staff as they work to identify positive flocks and confirm negative flocks for movement permits.  During the first few weeks of the outbreak, the AI Response Team met daily to identify bottlenecks in providing rapid turnaround of test results, and to troubleshoot issues involved in enhanced laboratory biosecurity.  Fortunately - due primarily to our dedicated, hard-working staff - AHL has managed to support AI outbreak testing in Ontario successfully, while maintaining business continuity for all of our other, non-avian clients.  Cases seem to be slowing down, and it is our hope that the outbreak will resolve soon as the spring migration ends.  For a comprehensive overview of wild bird migration and the spread of avian influenza, please check out the article written by Dr. Martin and Dr. Parmley.

This issue of the AHL newsletter also contains the third section of our antibiotic sensitivity LabNote 64 that describes how to select an appropriate class of antimicrobial drugs for therapeutic purposes.  In particular, a list of the drugs on the antimicrobial sensitivity panel that predict susceptibility to other antimicrobial agents is explained by Dr. Slavić.  Our updated User’s Guide and Fee Schedule was released on May 1 and provides a wealth of detailed information on laboratory tests provided by AHL.  While a list of 16 “new” tests is detailed with the ad (next page), many of these are revised tests employing duplex and triplex PCRs that logically group agents and reduce test fees.  Always a good thing!

We wish you all good health and a spectacular summer.  Please take the time you need to relax and refresh with your families, friends and colleagues.  Maybe we’ll see each other at a conference or meeting soon. 

Maria Spinato, Director

Animal Health Laboratory, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON.