OTTAWA, Ontario – Low pathogenicity H5 and H7 avian influenza viruses have been to the list of reportable diseases, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced.

All suspected or confirmed cases of low pathogenicity H5 and H7 avian influenza and all highly pathogenic avian flu viruses must be reported to the CFIA effective immediately, the agency said. The addition of the two viruses to the Reportable Diseases Regulations formalize Canada's current approach to controlling avian flu viruses in domestic poultry, but do not significantly change what the agency does to respond to outbreaks, CFIA said.

"This amendment underscores the Government of Canada's commitment to protecting animal health, public health and the economic viability of our poultry industry," said Dr. Brian Evans, Canada's Chief Veterinary Officer. "We remain vigilant in our efforts to prevent, prepare for and respond to avian influenza."

CFIA said most avian flu viruses are low pathogenicity and typically cause few or no visible signs of illness in infected birds. However, H5 and H7 viruses have the potential to mutate into a highly pathogenic form and cause high mortality in domestic poultry, the agency said.