Two new outbreaks of avian influenza in British Columbia

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency reports that an outbreak of bird flu has hit two small poultry farms, one in Richmond and the other in Kelowna. This is the third and fourth small farm affected by highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza in the Region. A commercial farm located in the North Okanagan Regional District was also affected by the outbreak on April 13.

These farms may have been contaminated during contact with the migratory birds, according to a statement released late Wednesday afternoon by the county Department of Agriculture and Food.

In Kelowna it is a small flock of birds owned and used by one family or for purposes other than the production of edible products.

In Richmond, a small breeding operation (less than 300 heads) is intended for commercial animal product production or for commercial breeding.

The two affected farms were quarantined and the poultry farmers located within a 12 km radius of their proximity to an infected farm.

The first small farm affected is located in the city of Kelowna and the second in the central Kootenai regional area.

The province’s Department of Agriculture and Food is asking smallholder and backyard farm owners to be vigilant and take precautionary measures.

Among other things, reduce or eliminate opportunities for contact between poultry and wild birds, reduce contact between humans and livestock, increase the frequency of cleaning operations, and disinfect all items, including clothing and footwear, that enter the coop of breeding birds.

Infected wild birds have been found in the Vanderhof region, Lac-la-Hache, and Bowen Island, as well as in the Delta and Vancouver.

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