Wednesday November 30, 2022 | VANCOUVER ISLAND, BC
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
The number of cases of avian influenza continues to rise in British Columbia.
Since the first 2022 confirmation of avian influenza in BC poultry in mid-April, there have been 57 cases in BC.
Eighteen cases were confirmed before June, and 39 since September after the fall migration began. Of the 57 cases, 35 were on commercial farms including 28 cases since November 16.
The BC Ministry of Agriculture and Foods says that cases in BC are an extension of an ongoing North American outbreak, with positive cases across Canada. Wild birds have tested positive for H5 strains of avian influenza in many regions of BC.
At the retail end of things, consumers will notice the shortage of turkeys and other poultry offerings in the holiday season.
Two online sessions:
Earlier this week, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food announced two virtual information sessions for BC small-flock poultry owners.
The first one is today Nov 30 for small-flock owners in Thompson-Cariboo and northern BC. The next session is on Monday December 5 open all small-flock owners in BC. (Also see registration links below.)
The sessions will focus on the avian influenza virus, how owners can protect their flocks and how to prepare for potential impacts if their birds become sick.
The sessions are being led by BC government veterinary specialists. Attendees will learn about:
- improving flock or farm biosecurity to prevent disease outbreaks;
- recognizing the signs of avian influenza and how to report cases;
- how foreign animal disease regulations affect small-flock poultry;
- what to expect if a flock is positive for avian influenza; and
- resources available for non-commercial bird owners, including diagnostic services through the BC Animal Health Centre.
There is no cost to attend the sessions, but registration is mandatory. Both three-hour sessions will be held from 5:30 until 8:30 p.m Pacific Time.
- The Nov 30 session will on small-flock owners in Thompson-Cariboo and northern BC and will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022.
Register online: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/461137503687
- The Dec 5 session will be for all BC small-flock owners.
Register online: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/461141636047
About Avian Flu:
Avian influenza is a federally regulated disease and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) leads the investigation and response with provincial support for testing, mapping, surveillance and disposal.
On Oct. 14, 2022, B.C.’s chief veterinarian issued a general order requiring all people responsible for birds to not take birds to events such as poultry swaps, auctions, flea markets, bird shows, fairs, public displays or competitions where birds from multiple sources would be present.
Poultry owners with birds showing symptoms of avian influenza should contact their veterinarians for assistance.
The Wild Bird Mortality Investigation Program hotline, 1 866 431-2473, accepts public reports of dead wild birds.
===== LINKS (BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food):
CFIA information about current state of avian influenza in Canada:
CFIA factsheet about avian influenza:
Ministry of Agriculture and Food information about avian Influenza, including what to be on the lookout for, resources for small-flock owners, deputy chief veterinarian’s orders and information on testing:
Anyone requiring assistance in registering for the upcoming virtual information sessions can call the Animal Health Centre toll free at 1 800 661-9903 or email: PAHB@gov.bc.ca
===== ABOUT ISLAND SOCIAL TRENDS:
Fully online since mid-2020, Island Social Trends emerged from the extensive groundwork of previous print publications in the west shore: MapleLine Magazine (2008-2010), Sooke Voice News (2011-2013), and West Shore Voice News (2014-2020).
Since 2008, journalist and editor Mary P Brooke has taken a socioeconomic lens to the news of the west shore and south Vancouver Island region, including BC provincial news, and national news impacts.
Ms Brooke has been covering news of School District 62 (SD62) at the board and committee level — attending nearly all of their full meetings since 2014. She was an SD62 trustee candidate (Belmont Zone) in the October 2022 election.