Glacier FarmMedia COVID-19 & the Farm

CFIA caught up on Fraser Valley bird depopulations

(Stephen Ausmus photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Birds at the 11 commercial poultry farms and one other property hit so far this month by H5N2 avian influenza in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley have been euthanized.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency reported it had completed “depopulation” of the 85 birds including ducks, chickens, geese and turkeys at a “non-commercial” farm in the Aldergrove area on Dec. 20 — the day after the property had been confirmed with the avian flu virus.

The latest infected commercial farm, a broiler/breeder operation at Langley, was depopulated of its 11,800 affected birds on Dec. 19.

The virus had been confirmed at the site on Dec. 17, making it the 11th commercial farm affected since H5N2 first appeared on Dec. 1 at a Chilliwack area broiler/breeder farm.

CFIA’s National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease confirmed Dec. 17 the virus at the infected properties is highly-pathogenic (“high-path”) H5N2.

The strain contains gene segments from the high-path Eurasian H5N8 virus, including the H5 gene, and segments from typical North American viruses, including the N2 gene, the centre said.

“The appearance of this particular reassortant virus is significant due to its ability to cause high mortality in domestic poultry,” CFIA said.

The confirmations also mark the first time a Eurasian-lineage high-path H5 virus has caused an outbreak of avian flu in poultry in North America, CFIA said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Dec. 17 also confirmed high-path H5N2 in northern pintail ducks and HPAI H5N8 in captive Gyrfalcons that had been fed hunter-killed wild birds in Whatcom County, Wash.

USDA on Dec. 18 also confirmed high-path H5N8 on Dec. 18 in a small non-commercial backyard flock of guinea fowl and chickens at Winston, Ore.

There are no reports of H5N2-related illness in people, CFIA said, but added that public health officials are “monitoring” workers who’ve been exposed to affected poultry.

Testing to date hasn’t yet detected the H5N2 strain in wild birds in Canada, CFIA added. — Network


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