McMaster expert available to discuss avian flu outbreak at Ontario turkey farms

Media Advisory

McMaster expert available to discuss avian flu outbreak at Ontario turkey farms

HAMILTON, ON. April 7, 2015 — Two turkey farms in Southern Ontario have been placed under quarantine to mitigate the spread of an unidentified strain of avian influenza. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is now working to determine the exact strain of the virus, with results expected by week’s end. 

Matthew Miller, an assistant professor in McMaster’s Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, is available to discuss disease transmission patterns among poultry, as well as the potential impact on humans should new strains of avian flu mutate further. Miller is renowned for his ongoing research efforts to create a universal flu vaccine, and is well-versed in recent strains of avian flu causing alarm among public health officials. 

“Avian influenza outbreaks similar to the one reported in Woodstock today have also recently been detected in B.C. and in several States in the U.S.,” says Miller. 

“The viruses are generally spread to domestic poultry by migrating ducks and geese. When detected early and effectively contained, these viruses do not pose a major risk to public health. However, vigilance is extremely important in order to avoid excessive human exposure, since influenza viruses are capable of spillover into human populations.”

Miller can be reached at 289-775-8573 or

McMaster’s on-campus broadcast studio is available for conducting live or pre-taped television interviews.