Canada blocks poultry, eggs from Indiana

(Stephen Ausmus photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Cross-border travellers coming into Canada from the U.S. are now warned against bringing in raw poultry and eggs from Indiana, the site of the country’s latest cases of avian flu.

Travellers entering Canada from the U.S. may not bring in uncooked poultry products, live birds and/or eggs from Indiana, North Dakota or Missouri, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said Friday.

The addition of Indiana to the list follows Friday’s announcement that birds on a commercial turkey farm in southern Indiana’s Dubois County were confirmed to have highly pathogenic (“high-path”) H7N8 avian flu.

About 900 birds on the farm died of the virus and the remaining 42,600 are being destroyed, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA/APHIS) said in a report Friday to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

Follow-up surveillance in the state has also found eight other nearby turkey farms with birds infected by a “low-path” strain of H7N8, APHIS said in a separate release Sunday.

Birds with low-path avian flu often show no signs of infection or only have minor symptoms, while high-path strains spread quickly and lead to high death rates in infected flocks, APHIS said. Low-path H7 viruses have also been known to mutate into high-path viruses.

“It appears that there was a low pathogenic virus circulating in the poultry population in this area, and that virus likely mutated into a highly pathogenic virus in one flock,” Dr. John Clifford, USDA’s chief veterinarian, said in Sunday’s release.

Between December 2014 and June 2015, CFIA also imposed such restrictions on poultry and eggs from 15 states where strains of high-path H5N2 and/or H5N8 avian flu had appeared in commercial poultry flocks. North Dakota and Missouri remain under those restrictions.

Cross-border travellers who buy poultry and eggs while visiting the U.S. will want to make sure they have proof that those products originated from, and were bought in, states not still under CFIA’s restrictions, the agency said Friday.

For travellers, the list of restricted items includes live birds, hatching eggs, eggs, yolks, egg whites, uncooked or partially-cooked poultry meat, raw poultry-based pet foods, feathers, poultry manure/litter and laboratory materials containing poultry products or byproducts.

If the goods originate in any of the affected states, “you may not bring these items into Canada,” CFIA said.

Live pet birds will be allowed if they arrive with the appropriate certification from USDA.

Commercial-level poultry and egg imports are restricted only from “specific quarantine zones” within affected states until further notice, CFIA said.

Canada in early October also self-declared as free of high-path avian flu by OIE standards, following outbreaks in flocks at 13 properties in British Columbia in December 2014 and in February 2015, and at three farms in southwestern Ontario in April 2015. — Network

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