Bird flu spreads to two new B.C. farms
A view of a poultry farm under quarantine due to bird flu, or avian influenza, in Chilliwack. (REUTERS)
Two more Fraser Valley poultry farms have been hit by the avian flu outbreak, bringing the total number of affected birds to 155,000.
Despite efforts to reduce the spread of the disease, health officials say more farms could be affected in the days ahead.
“Since this is highly contagious and can spread rapidly, we might see more at-risk farms come up,” said Dr. Harpreet Kochhar, chief veterinary officer with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
Eight countries, including the U.S., have temporarily closed their borders to B.C. and Canadian poultry products since the virus was confirmed last week.
It’s the third outbreak of avian influenza in B.C. in the last decade, with this case relatively small compared to the 16 million B.C. birds affected in 2004.
“Compared to that, the 155,000 birds is very miniscule, however I would at this point mention and do want to underline that we don’t know at what stage of this situation we are,” said Kochhar.
By tomorrow, an estimated 145,000 birds will have been euthanized or died from the virus, with the remaining exterminations expected by the end of the week.
The CFIA continues to hunt for links between the affected turkey and chicken farms — analyzing movement of people, feed and trucks between the sites — and is monitoring the region’s migratory bird population for the potential source of the outbreak.