Farmers think migratory birds spreading avian influenza

Virus has been detected in wild birds in Washington State

A restricted zone put in place around farms affected by avian influenza now covers much of the Eastern Fraser Valley.

While the source of the avian influenza virus that has infected several local farms still hasn’t been confirmed, local farmers believe wild birds are the most likely culprit, according to the president of the BC Chicken Growers’ Association (BCCGA).

On Monday, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced that an egg-laying operation in Langley had become the 10th farm to be affected by the outbreak of the “highly pathogenic” H5N2 virus. A total of 233,800 birds have now either died from the outbreak, or been ordered euthanized.

On Tuesday, officials in Washington State said avian influenza had been found in a pintail duck and a gyrfalcon in Whatcom county, which borders Canada.

BCCGA president Ravi Bathe, who runs a 90,000-bird broiler chicken operation in Abbotsford, said farmers have been doing their utmost to stop the virus from spreading.

“The farmers are doing everything they can and sometimes it’s out of their control,” he said Tuesday morning. “This is coming through the migratory bird population, we think, and what are you going to do? … we need ventilation, we need air to get in the barns.”

In a report to the World Organization for Animal Health, the CFIA wrote: “the H5N2 virus detected in B.C. contains five of eight gene segments from highly pathogenic Eurasian H5N8 virus including the H5 gene and three of eight segments from typical North American viruses including the N2 gene (wild bird origin).”

Earlier in the week, in an email to the News, the CFIA said that the specific strain currently affecting Abbotsford farms has not been detected in wild birds in Canada, although surveillance and testing continues.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Langley realtor builds holiday party for kids

Realtor Matthew Rufh hosted a gingerbread house-building party for the Langley Boys and Girls Club.

Giants defenceman Byram headed to NHL prospects game

The young player is following in the footsteps of former Giant Ty Ronning.

Langley Rams receiver inks with BC Lions

Jevon Cottoy joined the Rams this season and now has a multi-year contract with the Lions.

UPDATE: Heavy rainfall, strong winds in forecast for Lower Mainland

Heavy rains, snow expected till Friday morning

McGregor Says: Shopping husbands will survive

Columnist Jim McGregor offers a little advise to those husbands required to go Christmas shopping.

Omar Khadr wants changes to bail conditions

‘My life is held in suspension’, says the former Guantanamo Bay detainee

Sissons scores OT winner as Predators beat Canucks 4-3

VIDEO: Vancouver battles back to earn single point in Nashville

Lions announce seven members of coaching staff not coming back for 2019

The operational moves come two days after the Lions announced DeVone Claybrooks as the team’s new head coach

Christmas fun at Aldergrove Library: VIDEO & PHOTOS

Youngsters enjoyed decorating a Christmas tree with their homemade craft decorations

$12K awarded to atheist family who oppose Christmas, Hanukkah in B.C. classroom

Gary Mangel,May Yasue said holidays, Remembrance Day and Valentine’s Day not appropriate in preschool

Kodiaks avenge themselves against Pilots: ACTION PHOTOS

Aldergrove and Abbotsford Junior B hockey teams tie game at 5-5

Coach accused of sexual assault says apology letter was misinterpreted

Dave Brubaker has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault and one count of invitation to sexual touching

Give the gift of nature this holiday season

Please don’t be mad, but I bought you a moose

Aboriginal poet faces backlash for calling out NHL-themed totem poles

Rebecca Thomas says she received backlash for asking a drugstore chain to remove NHL merchandise

Most Read