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article imageMore B.C. poultry farms hit in latest outbreak of Avian Flu

By Marcus Hondro     Dec 14, 2014 in Health
An eight country has joined the list of those restricting Canadian poultry due to the ever-growing Avian flu outbreak on B.C. poultry farms. In total now 9 farms have been affected, but officials say there may be more.
Bird influenza outbreak in B.C.
The outbreak began in early December and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said of the nine farms affected, 8 are in the Abbotsford area and one is in Chilliwack. The birds affected are turkeys and broiler/breeders. The number of birds is low in comparison to the number harvested in the Fraser Valley.
The outbreak is causing reactions from some countries that import Canadian poultry and poultry products. Singapore last week became the eighth to pose restrictions on Canada's poultry products, joining China, Japan, Mexico and South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan and the U.S. Hong Kong has outright banned poultry products from the Fraser Valley area.
Meanwhile, Canada's chief veterinary officer said the avian flu striking more farms was not unexpected. He told media in a conference call last week that the huge population of poultry in the area makes it likely there will be more.
“The identification of additional farms is not unexpected, given that avian influenza is highly contagious,” Dr. Harpreet Kochhar said. “Our efforts are directed to controlling the avian influenza virus from spreading
"In spite of those measures, there is a possibility that this could show up at other farms. This is something that is attributed to the highly virulent, highly pathogenic nature of the avian influenza virus.”
Food inspection agency measures
To help counter the flu's spread, the 180,000 birds in those nine farms have either been or will be euthanized. Further, the CFIA has created a primary control zone. "The primary control zone is divided into three disease control zones: infected, restricted and security," a notice from the CFIA reads.
"The three zones represent relative levels of risk and movement restrictions vary accordingly. Most of the restrictions apply to the infected and restricted zones because of the greater potential that the virus can spread."
It is the third outbreak of the bird flu in B.C. In a 2004 outbreak in B.C., 17 million birds had to be euthanized, costing the industry hundreds of millions of dollars. If poultry products are handled and cooked properly there is said to be no risk of illness to consumers.
The bird flu is thought to have been spread by migratory and wild birds.
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