The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has confirmed a commercial poultry farm in Chilliwack has tested positive for the H5 strain of the avian influenza virus.
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The infected premises has been placed under quarantine by the CFIA, and the ministry has notified producers within a 10-kilometre radius of the positive test results. The CFIA is leading the investigation and response with provincial support for testing, mapping, surveillance and disposal.
British Columbia's Ministry of Agriculture and Food continues to work closely with the CFIA and the B.C. poultry industry to ensure enhanced prevention and preparedness measures are in place to protect poultry flocks, particularly as the fall bird migration begins.
British Columbia’s chief veterinarian has issued an order requiring regulated poultry producers with quota under Canada’s supply management system to keep birds indoors until further notice. The risk of avian influenza to poultry farms increases each spring and fall with the migration of wild waterfowl and other wild birds to and through British Columbia.
To extend that preparation to smaller operations, British Columbia government veterinary specialists will host public information sessions in 11 communities for small-flock poultry owners to help them prevent, recognize and report the virus.
The sessions are being scheduled for late September until November to reach small flock owners in the Cariboo, Okanagan, Fraser Valley, Lower Mainland, Prince George area and Vancouver Island, with the schedules and locations to be announced once confirmed.
All poultry owners are encouraged to enhance current biosecurity measures and to familiarize themselves with the signs of avian influenza and the appropriate reporting stream. Poultry owners should pay particular attention for signs of illness in the months ahead, and work with their veterinarian for any diagnosis and disease reporting support.
Since mid-April, the CFIA has confirmed 19 cases of avian influenza in commercial and small flocks in British Columbia. ■