B.C. egg farm joins turkey, broiler farms on quarantine list


A 53,000-bird table egg layer operation in the greater Vancouver area is the 10th farm in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland to be confirmed with avian influenza since the beginning of the month.

The farm, in the Langley municipality, was investigated Saturday under “suspicion” of avian flu and confirmed later that day to be infected with the virus, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said.

The new finding follows two broiler breeder operations confirmed Wednesday at Abbotsford, and another Abbotsford broiler breeder farm confirmed Thursday.

As of Sunday, the nine Fraser Valley farms to have been confirmed with avian flu have all been “depopulated” using carbon dioxide gas, CFIA said. The depopulation of the nine affected premises included about 180,800 birds in total.

Disease control measures remain in place on affected farms for 21 days after the cleaning and disinfection of all confirmed infected premises, CFIA said, if there have been no positive results from surveillance activities.

According to Health Canada, there’s no evidence that consuming either eggs or poultry can transmit the avian influenza virus to humans.

That said, Health Canada recommends poultry products be handled in a hygienic manner and cooked to recommended temperatures because all evidence suggests that cooking kills the virus.

The farms have been confirmed with high-pathogenicity H5 avian flu. In its high-path form, the H5N2 strain, confirmed on the first two infected farms, is “very” contagious and generally leads to high mortality in affected poultry populations.

Health officials’ experience to date shows H5N2 usually causes mild illness in humans who have had “extensive contact” with diseased birds. Person-to-person transmission is still considered rare.

The high-path H5N2 outbreaks have cost Canada its status as free of high-path avian flu, which it’s held since 2008.

Countries including the U.S., South Korea, Hong Kong, South Africa, Mexico, Taiwan and Japan have in recent weeks imposed varying bans on Canadian and/or B.C. poultry products in the wake of the H5N2 outbreak. — AGCanada.com Network

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