CFIA confirms bird flu strain
Asian poultry markets respond with trade restrictions.

OTTAWA, Ontario – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) confirmed the H5N2 strain of avian flu is the outbreak strain found on two firms in the Fraser Valley.

CFIA said the H5N2 subtype is known to affect wild and domestic birds. It is a highly pathogenic virus that causes severe illness and death in birds, particularly poultry. Officials in British Columbia informed CFIA that preliminary test results from two additional farms that were quarantined on Dec. 4 are presumptive for H5 avian influenza. CFIA plans additional testing to confirm the strain.

The outbreak already has had repercussions for the Canadian poultry industry. South Korea announced a ban on imports of Canadian chicks, while Hong Kong and Taiwan have imposed restrictions on British Columbia poultry and poultry products. Japan imposed restrictions on chicks from British Columbia in addition to all Canadian poultry products, according to a Reuters report. The United States has not yet imposed any trade restrictions.

All birds on the infected farms will be humanely euthanized under CFIA supervision, the agency said. The farmers will be compensated for their losses. CFIA is reminding producers to practice a high level of biosecurity to reduce the risk of disease spread and to report any suspicious symptoms in their flocks to CFIA. Additional control measures will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, the agency said.