A farmer sorts through eggs as they exit the hen barn at an egg farm in West Lincoln, Ont., on Monday, March 7, 2016. Canadian poultry and egg producers have now lost more than 3.7 million birds to a highly contagious strain of avian influenza. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power)

Seven Fraser Valley poultry farms under quarantine for avian influenza

Commercial flocks at risk from migratory birds; ministry offering free online information sessions

Six commercial poultry farms in Abbotsford and one in Chilliwack have been placed under quarantine by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) after testing positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza.

The positive tests came from the farms between Nov. 16 and Nov. 19 and brings the affected number of B.C. farms this year to 36.

The B.C. government sent out public notice Monday afternoon and has notified producers within a 10-kilometre radius of each of the farms with the positive test results.

“Since the first 2022 confirmation of avian influenza in B.C. poultry in mid-April, there have been 36 cases in B.C.,” it says further. “Eighteen were before June, and 18 since September after the fall migration began. Of the 36 cases, 14 were on commercial farms, 21 in small flocks and one in a captive wild bird.”

The risk of avian influenza to commercial poultry farms and small flocks increases each spring and fall, as waterfowl and other birds follow their migratory paths. The CFIA reports that about 275,800 birds have been affected to date in B.C. this year, out of 3.7 million affected birds in Canada.

Earlier this year, the disease was found in some Canada geese who died or were sick at Mill Lake in Abbotsford.

CFIA leads the investigation of avian influenza and the response with provincial support for testing, mapping, surveillance and disposal. They work with the ministry of agriculture and food and B.C. poultry producers to ensure enhanced prevention and preparedness measures are in place.

An order was issued on Sept. 14, requiring all regulated, quota-holding chicken and turkey operations to maintain indoor operations. On Oct. 14, a second order was issued requiring birds not be taken to ‘commingling’ events, including auctions, poultry swaps, bird shows and fairs.

To help small-flock owners prepare, the ministry is hosting free, online information sessions on Nov. 30 and Dec. 5, 2022. To register, visit EventBrite and search for Ministry of Agriculture and Food.

Poultry owners who suspect or confirm a case in their flock must report it to the CFIA at 403 338-5225 or email cfia.ABSickBird-Lesoiseauxmalades@inspection.gc.ca.

The Wild Bird Mortality Investigation Program hotline, 1-866-431-2473, accepts public reports of dead wild birds.

READ MORE: Avian flu confirmed in some Canada geese at Mill Lake in Abbotsford


@CHWKcommunity
jessica.peters@abbynews.com

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