More cases of avian flu confirmed in B.C.
Posted November 8, 2023 1:44 pm.
The B.C. government says cases of avian influenza are on the rise in poultry farms, with an increase in the total number of confirmed cases.
According to The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CIFA), there have been 16 confirmed cases since Oct. 20.
B.C.’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food is working with the CFIA and poultry producers to put up safety measures to limit the spread of the disease.
But the fall migration of wild birds is typically when there is the highest risk of spreading the virus from those birds to poultry, on farms or in backyard flocks.
Chief Information Officer Amanda Brittain previously told CityNews the current strain of the virus is more fatal than previous years.
Brittain explained that humans can track the illness into farms too, on their shoes from sources like puddles, making it even more important for B.C. poultry farmers to follow strict biosecurity regulations.
B.C.’s chief veterinarian, Theresa Burns, issued two orders last month to reduce the risk of the virus spreading, which include restrictions on poultry events and an order for commercial farms to keep their birds indoors.
The province introduced a new $5-million Farmed Animal Disease Program earlier this year to help farmers prepare for the risk of animal disease.
But Brittain says farmers will take a big financial hit during an outbreak, despite insurance and CFIA compensation to help offset costs.
If people find a sick or dead bird, they should leave it where it is and report it to B.C.’s wild bird surveillance hotline at 1-866-431-BIRD (2473).
-With files from Maria Vinca