Details Emerge of Canada's Latest Avian Flu Outbreaks

CANADA - Details have emerged of the three most recent confirmed outbreaks of H5N2 highly pathogenic avian influenza in British Columbia. The five outbreaks have affected 112,800 birds, mainly broiler breeders and meat turkeys.
calendar icon 11 December 2014
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The three most recent outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian flu in Canada were all confirmed as the H5N2 variant and located in Abbotsford in the Fraser Valley region of British Columbia. Of the 72,000 birds on the three farms, 322 died and 40,728 have been destroyed.

First was a broiler breeder farm with 14,000 birds, of which 250 died and the rest have been destroyed. The affected barn held breeding hens and roosters aged 37 weeks., where sudden deaths occurred around 2 December. In addition, two-week-old pullets on the premises experienced normal mortality rates.

Also on 2 December, another farm with 27,000 broiler breeders were affected. Again, one barn of hens and roosters aged 41 weeks experienced sudden death, while other birds aged seven and 59 weeks of age appeared unaffected. Twenty-two birds died and the rest of the birds on the farm have been destroyed.

Two days later, on 4 December, a meat turkey farm suffered an outbreak, with one barn of nine-week-old birds showing high mortality - 50 birds in all. The four- and 14-week-old birds on the premises had normal mortality rates.

According to the report - Follow Up Report No.1 dated 9 December - testing at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease (NCFAD) on samples from the two original outbreaks in the same area confirm that the virus is a highly pathogenic form of the H5N2 subtype.

CFIA has also confirmed H5 avian influenza virus in three additional farms in the same report. The two farms with outbreaks starting on 2 December have been humanely depopulated.

At this point, this event is limited geographically to a portion of the Fraser Valley in the southern fringe of the province of British Columbia.

Infected premises were quarantined by the CFIA and a stamping out policy is being implemented, as described in the Notifiable Avian Influenza (NAI) Hazard Specific Plan.

The Canadian Notifiable Avian Influenza Surveillance System (CanNAISS) is an ongoing surveillance system built to demonstrate absence of NAI in poultry in Canada. CanNAISS results and epidemiological investigation to date are supporting that there is no evidence of infection outside of the Fraser Valley in British Columbia.

On 8 December 2014, CFIA established a primary control zone in the area where the disease has been identified. The primary control zone is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean, on the south by the United States border, on the north by Highway 16, and on the east by the border between British Columbia and Alberta. Additional information on the zone and the restrictions in place are available by clicking here.

Further details of the two first outbreaks have emerged as follows:

  • On 30 November, a farm with a total of 12,800 broiler breeders in Chilliwack reported 10 per cent mortality among 24-week old birds in one barn, while 47-week-old birds in an adjacent barn were unaffected. In all, 700 birds died within 24 to 48 hours and the rest were destroyed.
  • On the same date in Abbotsford, a farm with 83-day-old turkey toms experienced 70 per cent mortality within 24 to 48 hours, amounting to 7,700 birds. Hens and two-week-old poults on the premises appeared unaffected. All remaining birds were destroyed.

Further Reading

You can visit the Avian Flu page by clicking here.

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