Last of Ontario’s avian flu quarantines ends

(Stephen Ausmus photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Movement of birds and bird products in, through and out of southwestern Ontario’s Oxford and Waterloo counties is no longer subject to federal quarantine.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced Wednesday it has removed its second and final avian influenza control zone, which has been in place since April 21 and covered portions of both counties.

The lifting of the second control zone comes with the end of the quarantine at an Oxford County broiler operation that had been confirmed April 18 with highly pathogenic (“high-path”) H5N2 avian flu, affecting about 27,000 birds.

The end of the remaining quarantine followed a required 21-day waiting period after depopulation, cleaning and disinfection work were completed at the farm.

Quarantines at Ontario’s two other infected farms, a pair of Oxford County turkey operations confirmed April 7 and 23 respectively with H5N2, were lifted July 20 — as was the avian flu control zone set up April 12 around those two farms.

“Permits are no longer required for the movement of birds and bird products in Ontario,” the agency said Wednesday in a statement.

For the purposes of poultry exports from the region, as per World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) standards, a three-month “enhanced surveillance period” must follow the disinfections before southwestern Ontario — and Canada — can be considered free of avian flu.

In Ontario’s case, the three-month surveillance period is expected to run until Oct. 8.

While there’s no assurance that new cases won’t appear, there have been no new cases seen in Ontario or any other province since the three infections in April.

British Columbia, which saw outbreaks of H5N2 and H5N1 avian flu on farms in the Fraser Valley between December and February, was declared avian flu-free in June.

In the U.S., where 223 farms have been infected with avian flu across 15 states since December, affecting over 48 million birds, the federal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed no new avian flu cases since mid-June. — AGCanada.com Network

 

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