Avian influenza restrictions on B.C. poultry farms lifted by CFIA

Written By Unknown on Kamis, 12 Maret 2015 | 22.39

A ban on the movement of poultry in southern B.C. has been lifted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency — a month after the last case of avian influenza was detected.

The avian-influenza outbreak began last December, hitting 11 commercial chicken and turkey farms in the Fraser Valley, as well as a couple of backyard coops.

At the time, the agency created a control zone across the southern half of the province to stop the spread of the virus.

"The CFIA's disease control measures and ongoing bio-security efforts by producers prevented the further spread of the disease," said a notice issued by the CFIA on Wednesday.

"Surveillance by the CFIA has not detected the H5N2 and H5N1 strains of the virus in domestic poultry since Feb. 2, 2015."

"Permits are no longer required for the movement of birds and bird products in British Columbia," said the notice.

The agency said infected farms have cleaned and disinfected their facilities, a process that will be followed by 90 days of surveillance testing on poultry.

"Three of these premises are under quarantine for the remainder of their 21 day period to satisfy international requirements. Movement to and from these premises remains under CFIA control," the notice added.

Despite the end of the quarantine measures, restrictions imposed by more than two dozen countries on the export of birds and bird products remain in place, according to the CFIA.

Robin Horel, head of the Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council said more work will be needed to resume overseas trade.

Prior to December, B.C.'s last significant avian flu scare occurred in 2004, when a highly pathogenic strain led to the culling of 17 million birds.

Horel said it took more than a year for international trading bans to be lifted then but he anticipates a faster turnaround this time.

The number of countries that have imposed trade restrictions on B.C. poultry products has climbed to more than two dozen since the virus was first detected in two Fraser Valley farms in early December.

Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea were the first four to impose bans, with the United States, Mexico and South Africa quick to follow suit.

Since then, varying restrictions have been introduced by the Philippines, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, Russia, Guatemala, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Brazil, Barbados, the European Union, Venezuela, Colombia, China and Vietnam.

This week, the federal government also issued a ban on raw poultry products and live birds from six American states due to concerns over avian flu.

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