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Bird flu spreads to Langley

By Jane Deacon

A view of a poultry farm under quarantine due to bird flu, or avian influenza. (File photo)

A view of a poultry farm under quarantine due to bird flu, or avian influenza. (File photo)

The Fraser Valley bird flu outbreak has spread to Langley, affecting another 53,000 birds.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has confirmed the presence of avian influenza on an egg-laying farm in Langley, bringing the total number of infected birds to nearly 234,000.

It’s the first infected site outside of Abbotsford and Chilliwack since the virus struck in early December, underscoring challenges with keeping the outbreak contained.

Earlier this month, the CFIA restricted the movement of poultry in the southern half of B.C., and it remains unclear what brought the virus to the region and how it continues to spread.

Dr. Harpreet Kochar, Canada’s chief veterinary officer, has said the spread to new farms is not unlikely, given the highly pathogenic form of the virus.

The previously infected farms were raising broiler breeders and turkeys, slated for consumption during the Christmas season. Birds not killed by the infection are euthanized.

Health officials report there is no health risk to humans when poultry is handled and cooked properly, but numerous countries, including the U.S., have temporarily closed their borders to B.C. and Canadian poultry products. 

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