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UPDATE: Avian flu confirmed at Okanagan farm

Canadian Food Inspection Agency tests came back positive

UPDATE April 14:

A case of avian influenza has been confirmed at a North Okanagan farm.

“With the recent confirmation of avian influenza in several provinces and U.S. states, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food has been working closely with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and B.C. poultry producers to ensure enhanced prevention and preparedness measures are being taken to protect poultry flocks in B.C,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture and Food.

“Despite these efforts, the CFIA has confirmed the presence of avian influenza at a farm in the Regional District of North Okanagan.”

It’s the first case of avian influenza in B.C.’s current outbreak.

The CFIA is leading the investigation and response, with provincial support for testing, mapping, surveillance and disposal.

The ministry has also activated its emergency operations centre and will work with the CFIA, producers, industry and other stakeholders to effectively respond to this outbreak and any others that may occur in B.C.

“All poultry producers, including backyard poultry owners, are advised to increase their biosecurity practices and to be vigilant and monitor for signs of avian influenza in their flocks,” said Popham.

“To further protect farmers and prevent the spread of avian influenza in B.C., the deputy chief veterinarian has issued an order requiring all commercial poultry flocks in the province with more than 100 birds to be moved indoors until the spring migration ends in May.”

If avian influenza is suspected, poultry producers should immediately contact their local veterinarian or the provincial Animal Health Centre for advice and information.

“The public health risk is extremely low and there is no risk to food safety,” said Popham.

“I know this is an incredibly stressful time for our poultry and egg producers. They have endured so much over the past two years. They have shown they are truly resilient. We are here to help, and we will work together to get through this.”


ORIGINAL April 13:

A local farm is being tested for potential avian flu.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said samples are currently being tested at the National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease.

“There is a high suspect premises in the Regional District of North Okanagan,” the CFIA said in an email to the Morning Star.

“If a notifiable avian influenza virus is confirmed by the laboratory, the CFIA will inform the public through its web site.”

About 260,000 birds have been euthanized or killed by the virus in Canada, a majority in Alberta.

- with files from the Canadian Press

READ MORE: Food industry adjusting to large outbreak of avian flu in Canada, around the world


Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

Vernon has always been my home, and I've been working at The Morning Star since 2004.
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