Bird flu confirmed in British Columbia

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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VICTORIA, British Columbia – Preliminary tests have confirmed the presence of H5 avian influenza on two farms in the Fraser Valley of the Canadian province of British Columbia, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) reported.

CFIA said a turkey farm in Abbotsford and a broiler breeder farm in Chilliwack were placed under quarantine to control disease spread. Meanwhile, the poultry industry has been notified and advised to adopt enhanced biosecurity practices. Additional tests are underway to confirm the subtype and strain of the virus. Results are expected within days, CFIA said.

The discovery comes as poultry farms in Europe on high alert due to an outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N8 bird flu. Tens of thousands of birds have been culled in recent weeks in The Netherlands. Testing for the disease in British Columbia began Dec. 1 at a British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture laboratory in Abbotsford after both farms experienced sudden deaths of birds over the weekend, according to CFIA. All birds on the affected farms will be culled.

“As lead response agency, the CFIA will ensure the quarantine of the infected farms and determine a surrounding surveillance zone for further testing,” CFIA said in a statement. “The CFIA will also lead on required depopulation of birds, while the Province will provide technical support on required carcass disposal. Once all birds have been removed, the CFIA will oversee the cleaning and disinfection of the barns, vehicles, equipment and tools to eliminate any infectious material that may remain.”
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