Home Business & Economy Food & Agriculture Avian influenza found in backyard poultry flock in Kelowna

Avian influenza found in backyard poultry flock in Kelowna

Two strains that have most recently infected humans are H5N1 and H7N9; when bird flu does strike humans, it can be deadly. ~ The Mayo Clinic.

Monday April 25, 2022 | KELOWNA, BC [Update April 29, 2022: now also a small poultry flock in Central Kootenay has tested positive for H5N1]

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

A new case of avian influenza in BC has been announced this evening by the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food, in a news release, at about 7:25 pm.

The BC government says that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has confirmed that a small backyard poultry flock in Kelowna has tested positive for the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus.

B.C.’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food is working closely with the CFIA and BC poultry producers to ensure enhanced prevention and preparedness measures are in place to protect poultry flocks in BC.

Infected premises under quarantine:

The infected premises has been placed under quarantine by the CFIA and the ministry has notified producers within a 12-kilometre radius of the positive test result.

Usually no impact on humans:

“Bird flu is caused by a type of influenza virus that rarely infects humans,” says the Mayo Clinic about avian influenza on their website.

“More than a dozen types of bird flu have been identified, including the two strains that have most recently infected humans — H5N1 and H7N9. When bird flu does strike humans, it can be deadly,” states the Mayo Clinic.

“Health officials worry that a global outbreak could occur if a bird flu virus mutates into a form that transmits more easily from person to person. Researchers are working on vaccines to help protect people from bird flu,” it is stated by the Mayo Clinic.

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Backyard flocks at potential risk:

Owners of small or backyard flocks are urged to continue to be vigilant and have appropriate 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 (including clothing and footwear) when entering areas where flocks are housed.

Second bald eagle sample:

Additionally, a recent sample from a bald eagle found in Delta tested positive for the high pathogenicity avian influenza. This is the second bald eagle sample that has tested positive, with another positive case found in Vancouver in February.

These samples were collected through B.C.’s wild bird surveillance program for avian influenza, which gathers samples from sick and dead birds as well as sediment samples from wetlands the birds gather on. The surveillance is a partnership between different federal and provincial agencies and the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative.

Federally regulated disease:

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

Contact info:

The following contact information can be found on the ministry website, but is provided here for quick access:

  • The BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food provides diagnostic services for commercial and small flock poultry, please call: 1 800-661-9903 to report unexplained poultry illnesses or mortalities.
  • Small and backyard flock owners with general inquiries should call the Small and Backyard Flock Permitting Hotline: 604 855-8255. * The Wild Bird Mortality Investigation Program hotline at 1 866-431-2473 accepts public reports of dead wild birds.
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Ministry of Agriculture and Food information on avian Influenza, including what to be on the lookout for, resources for small flock owners, deputy chief veterinarian orders and information about testing: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/animals-and-crops/animal-health/reportable-notifiable-diseases/avian-influenza-ai

CFIA information on current state of avian influenza in Canada: https://inspection.canada.ca/animal-health/terrestrial-animals/diseases/reportable/avian-influenza/response-to-detections-of-highly-pathogenic-avian-/eng/1640207916497/1640207916934

CFIA fact sheet on avian influenza: https://inspection.canada.ca/animal-health/terrestrial-animals/diseases/reportable/avian-influenza/fact-sheet/eng/1356193731667/1356193918453#a2