Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Tests Confirm H5N2 Avian Flu at Two B.C. Farms; Two Additional Farms Infected

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Tests Confirm H5N2 Avian Flu at Two B.C. Farms; Two Additional Farms Infected

Article excerpt

Tests confirm B.C. avian flu as H5N2

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VANCOUVER - The virus at the centre of an avian influenza outbreak in British Columbia's Fraser Valley is the H5N2 strain, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said Thursday -- the same variety behind at least three previous outbreaks at Canadian farms.

Test results indicate poultry at a turkey farm and a chicken farm in B.C.'s Fraser Valley, where thousands of birds have already died, were infected with a high-pathogen, or high-path, strain of H5N2. Previous H5N2 outbreaks in Canada were low path.

Birds at two additional farms that were later placed under quarantine as a precaution have also been infected with H5 avian flu, the agency said, though tests had yet to confirm the subtype and the pathogenicity at those sites.

Dr. Harpreet Kochhar, Canada's chief veterinary officer, said federal and provincial government agencies will be looking for any sign the virus has moved beyond those four farms.

"Our epidemiological investigation, and the symptoms that come up if there are any, will be reflective of whether there is a disease spread or if we've contained it," Kochhar said during a conference call with reporters.

"Our general surveillance has not revealed that there are any other farms with similar symptoms."

Kochhar said it's still not clear how the birds at the first two farms were infected. The agency focused on the additional farms because they had each received birds from the Chilliwack chicken operation.

All of the birds at the four infected farms that are still alive will be euthanized.

The infected barns at the first two farms together housed 18,000 birds, but an additional 17,000 turkeys in adjacent barns at the Abbotsford operation will also be euthanized.

Officials did not have figures for the second pair of farms.

The federal agency has cautioned that the virus does not pose a risk to consumers if poultry meat is properly handled and cooked, though in rare cases it can be transmitted to people who work in close contact with the animals. …

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