An avian flu quarantine has been lifted from 10 of 13 affected farms so far by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
The latest update from the regulator shows that as of March 7, two Langley-area farms and one Chilliwack farm remained on the infected list, including one commercial Langley grower who was ordered to destroy 53,000 table egg layers, and two smaller non-commercial operations in Aldergrove and Chilliwack that were forced to destroy 180 birds.
The CFIA has adjusted the zone restricting the movement of poultry products to “reflect quarantines being lifted from individual premises.”
The revised restricted zone now uses the Trans-Canada Highway as its northern border rather than the Fraser River and adjustments have been made to the western border of the restricted zone to reflect quarantines being lifted from individual premises.
CFIA permits will continue to be required for the movement of birds and bird products within the zone until the agency determines that movement controls are no longer required to prevent the spread of avian influenza.
“This determination will consider factors such as disease surveillance testing and progress on the destruction and disposal of infected birds and complete disinfection of premises,” the agency said in an online statement.
“The CFIA continues to urge poultry farmers to take an active role in protecting their flocks by employing strict biosecurity measures on their property, and to immediately report any suspicion of avian influenza,” it added.
Since the H5N2 virus was detected at a broiler/breeder farm in Chilliwack and a turkey farm in Abbotsford in early December, more than 245,000 birds have been killed with carbon dioxide gas and then composted in a bid to keep the deadly virus from spreading.
The H5N2 bird flu virus is described as a Eurasian-North American Hybrid that is especially deadly to birds.
It’s the first time this type of avian flu virus has been seen in North America.
There have been no reports of H5N2 related illness in humans, but public health officials are monitoring workers who have been exposed to affected poultry, the agency said.
The virus has also been detected in wild birds, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which has reported the H5N2 strain was detected in northern pintail ducks just across the border in Lynden, Wash.
The CFIA also said the strain of avian influenza detected on a Chilliwack backyard chicken farm was a “high pathogenic H5N1” strain, not the H5N2 strain detected late last year.
The CFIA continues to stress that avian influenza does not pose a risk to humans when poultry products “are properly handled and cooked.”
– with files from Black Press