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Seven commercial poultry flocks in B.C.’s Fraser Valley have bird flu: ministry

VICTORIA — Seven commercial poultry farms in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley have been quarantined because they’ve tested positive for a highly infectious avian flu.

A statement from the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture says the farms tested positive between Nov. 16 and Nov. 19.

Six of the farms are in Abbotsford and one is in Chilliwack, in the Fraser Valley, the same area where more than 17 million birds were culled in 2004 when avian flu swept through numerous farms.

The ministry says producers within a 10-kilometre radius have been notified and all infected farms have been placed under quarantine by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

There have been three dozen cases of avian flu in the province since the first confirmation of the virus in April, and B.C.’s chief veterinarian issued an order in September requiring all quota-holding poultry operations to maintain indoor operations.

Experts have said the current strain affecting poultry operations, H5N1, behaves differently than other infections and instead of remaining isolated in one area it has spread across the country.

The ministry says the risk of avian flu to flocks in B.C. increases with spring and fall migration of waterfowl and other birds.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 21, 2022.

The Canadian Press