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article imageAvian flu hits B.C. again, 7 countries restrict Canadian poultry

By Marcus Hondro     Dec 7, 2014 in Health
A fifth B.C. farm, a turkey farm, has been hit by the avian flu virus. The return of the bird flu to the province comes as the industry heads into its profitable Christmas period. It won't help that some countries are now restricting Canadian poultry.
This fifth Fraser Valley farm is in Abbotsford. The five farms have been quarantined and some 140,000 birds will be euthanized.
Given how highly-contagious the avian influenza is and given there are some 500 poultry farms in the lower mainland of B.C., the Canadian Food Agency (CFIA) said it expected further spread of this disease was likely. But they say the disease is not out of control.
"Given that there is a big population of, or a very dense population of, poultry industry down there, it was not unexpected we would find other additional at-risk farms because avian influenza is highly contagious," CFIA Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Harpreet Kochhar said.
"This can not be characterized at this moment as an out-of-control outbreak, however, we are expecting that given the virus virulence and contagiousness of the disease that we might find some other farms which could come out positive."
Reaction to this new bird flu outbreak in B.C. has been swift. Hong Kong has outright banned all poultry products from the Fraser Valley while seven countries, China, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States have imposed restrictions on Canadian poultry and poultry products.
Consumers are not said to be at risk of illness if the poultry products are properly handled and cooked. It is the third outbreak of the avian flu in B.C. and there was outbreak in Manitoba. In a 2004 outbreak in B.C. 17 million birds had to be euthanized, costing the industry hundreds of millions of dollars.
The B.C. Poultry Association said that with the biodiversity security measures it has in place it believes it will halt the flu's spread. It says this outbreak may have come from migratory or wild birds.
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