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Avian flu in North Okanagan creates large control zone

Canadian Food Inspection Agency infected zone includes Grindrod
Avian flu infected zones are outlined in the centre area of Enderby and Grindrod in red while primary control zones are identified in purple. (CFIA map)

A case of avian influenza confirmed at an Enderby-area farm last week has placed a control zone over a large surrounding area.

The infected premises has been placed under quarantine while the infected zone includes north Enderby, Grindrod and Springbend Road area. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is investigating and has established movement control measures on other farms within the area. A primary control zone has been established in the outlying areas, including Deep Creek, Ranchero, Grandview Bench, south of Mara along the Shuswap River just north of Fortune Creek and in the Leduc Creek area north of Armstrong.

A sample from a broiler farm near Enderby tested positive, according to the Small Scale Meat Producers Association.

“All producers within a 10 kilometre radius of the farm have been notified,” the SSMPA said.

This is the first case of the avian influenza confirmed in B.C.’s current outbreak. Confirmation of other cases has taken place in several provinces and U.S.

“The Ministry of Agriculture and Food has been working closely with the CFIA and B.C. poultry producers to ensure enhanced prevention and preparedness measures are being taken to protect poultry flocks in B.C,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture and Food.

The CFIA is leading the investigation and response, with provincial support for testing, mapping, surveillance and disposal.

The ministry has also activated its emergency operations centre and will work with the CFIA, producers, industry and other stakeholders to effectively respond to this outbreak and any others that may occur in B.C.

“All poultry producers, including backyard poultry owners, are advised to increase their biosecurity practices and to be vigilant and monitor for signs of avian influenza in their flocks,” said Popham. “To further protect farmers and prevent the spread of avian influenza in B.C., the deputy chief veterinarian has issued an order requiring all commercial poultry flocks in the province with more than 100 birds to be moved indoors until the spring migration ends in May.”

If avian influenza is suspected, poultry producers should immediately contact their local veterinarian or the provincial Animal Health Centre for advice and information.

“The public health risk is extremely low and there is no risk to food safety,” said Popham.

“I know this is an incredibly stressful time for our poultry and egg producers. They have endured so much over the past two years. They have shown they are truly resilient. We are here to help, and we will work together to get through this.”

About 260,000 birds have been euthanized or killed by the virus in Canada, a majority in Alberta.

- with files from the Canadian Press

READ MORE: Food industry adjusting to large outbreak of avian flu in Canada, around the world

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