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Markham puts up signs after dead geese test positive for avian flu

A sign advising the public about suspected avian flu is seen at a pond in Markham. A sign advising the public about suspected avian flu is seen at a pond in Markham.
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Officials in Markham have put up signs at several bodies of water where several dead geese had been located, warning residents to avoid the areas due to suspected avian influenza.

The signs are posted at Country Glen Stormwater Pond, Toogood Pond, Monkhouse Pond and Swan Lake.

Maxine Roy, a spokesperson for the city, said geese found at Country Glen Stormwater Pond tested positive for avian flu, also known as bird flu.

As for the dead geese discovered at the other three locations, Roy said the city is still awaiting lab results. Earlier, she did confirm to CP24 that rapid testing of the waterfowls revealed that they were infected with avian flu.

Roy said 160 geese have been found dead so far. She added that the city was first notified about a sick goose last week.

"We're continuing to monitor the area, the areas quite close closely. We're also working with York Region Public Health and other provincial bodies as well," Roy said.

She noted that the dead geese are the city's first cases of avian flu.

The signs advise residents to stay away from dead carcasses and keep pets on a leash to prevent them from entering the water and interacting with the dead birds.

Residents who see a dead goose or animal can contact the city at 905-415-7531.

"We are asking for members of the public, if they do come across a dead, diseased or injured bird, to report it to the city," Roy said.

"We are working with a contractor to help remove any of the dead geese as well."

Markham is the latest municipality in the Greater Toronto Area to report cases of avian flu. The deaths of two waterfowl in Brampton are linked to the disease. Halton and Durham regions also reported earlier this week about finding birds suspected to be infected with avian flu.

Health officials have said it is extremely rare that bird flu would spread to humans.

Last week, the Toronto Zoo closed its aviaries to the public as a precaution after a poultry farm within 200 kilometres was confirmed to have cases of bird flu.

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