After the first confirmed case at their centre, the society added preventative measures throughout the facility to contain the highly contagious virus. Staff, volunteers, and visitors are required to wear masks, step through a chemical shoe bath to kill bacteria, and are restricted from entering certain otherwise publicly accessible areas.
According to the BC Centre for Disease Control, the H5N1 strain of avian influenza (commonly known as bird flu) is passed on through breathing in the viral droplets of an infected species, and if not properly contained, can spread quickly.
Hope believes raptors are particularly susceptible to the new strain of avian influenza due to their tendency to feed on smaller birds, which are common carriers of the virus.
OWL requires any raptor suspected to have been infected to go into isolation for testing, which Hope says if positive, leaves the bird slim chance of survival.