Avian flu found at two more farms in Fraser Valley

Two more Fraser Valley farms and a barn near an already quarantined poultry farm have been added to the list of infected properites.

A total of 155,000 birds are on the infected eight properties.

Culling of birds in infected farms started earlier this month.

On Dec. 8, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) established a primary control zone in the area where the disease has been identified.

The province and the poultry industry support this decision and are working together with the CFIA to implement it.

Avian influenza is highly contagious between birds and can spread rapidly. Because southern British Columbia has a high concentration of poultry operations, the primary control zone covers an area beyond the premises that are currently affected.

The primary control zone is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean, on the south by the United States border, on the north by Highway 16, and on the east by the border between British Columbia and Alberta. A map is available on the CFIA website.

The primary control zone is divided into three disease control zones: infected, restricted and security. The three zones represent relative levels of risk and movement restrictions vary accordingly. Most of the restrictions apply to the infected and restricted zones because of the greater potential that the virus can spread.

Within the primary control zone, there are three disease control sub-zones: infected, restricted and security.

* The outer boundary of an infected zone is up to 3 km from any known infected premises.

* The restricted zone is established surrounding the infected zone and measured based on the epidemiology of the disease in order to prevent the spread of avian influenza (3 km to 10 km).

* The security zone is the remainder of the primary control zone (beyond 10 km).

The movement restrictions apply to:

* captive birds (including but not limited to poultry, fowl and pet birds);

* poultry products or by-products;

* anything that has been exposed to captive birds (which could include but is not limited to feed, vehicles, equipment or clothing).

All movement of captive birds in and out of, and through this zone is strictly controlled and requires a permit from the CFIA. The movement restrictions also apply to poultry products and by-products and material that has come into contact with captive birds.

Avian influenza viruses do not pose risks to food safety when poultry and poultry products are properly handled and cooked. Avian influenza rarely affects humans that do not have consistent contact with infected birds. Public health authorities stand ready to take precautionary measures as warranted.

Poultry farmers are urged to take an active role in protecting their flocks by employing strict biosecurity measures on their property, and immediately reporting any suspicious symptoms to the CFIA.

For more information on avian influenza and measures poultry farmers can take to protect their flocks, visit the CFIA web site at inspection.gc.ca.

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