Avian flu has been detected in small flocks in the Peace region, in Summerland and in Sechelt. (Black Press file)

Avian flu has been detected in small flocks in the Peace region, in Summerland and in Sechelt. (Black Press file)

Flocks in Summerland, Sechelt and Peace River test positive for avian influenza

Owners of small flocks urged to have preventative measures in place

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has confirmed that small poultry flocks in the Regional District of Peace River, Sechelt and Summerland have tested positive for the H5N1 avian influenza virus.

The infected premises have been placed under quarantine by the food inspection agency and B.C.’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food has notified producers within a 10-kilometre radius about the positive test results.

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The highly pathogenic H5N1 virus has been spreading in British Columbia and beyond this year. The illness can affect many bird species, including chickens, turkeys and birds kept as pets.

Owners of small or backyard flocks are urged to continue to be vigilant and have preventative measures in place. Measures include eliminating or reducing opportunities for poultry to encounter wild birds, reducing human access to the flock and increased cleaning, disinfection and sanitization of all things when entering areas where flocks are housed.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Food continues to work closely with the food inspection agency and B.C. poultry producers to ensure enhanced prevention and preparedness measures are in place to protect poultry flocks.

The first confirmed case of H5N1 in B.C. poultry was at a commercial producer in the Regional District of North Okanagan in mid-April.

Avian influenza is a federally regulated disease and the food inspection agency leads the investigation and response with provincial support for testing, mapping, surveillance and disposal.

Wild birds have also tested positive for H5 strains of avian influenza in multiple regions of the province. The Wild Bird Mortality Investigation Program toll-free hotline, 1-866-431-2473, accepts reports of dead wild birds from the public.

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