Another Abbotsford farm infected with avian flu; brings total to nine

Pieces of raw chicken sit on a weighing machine.
Pieces of raw chicken sit on a weighing machine. Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images

Another boiler chicken farm in Abbotsford has tested positive for the avian influenza; which brings the total number of infected areas in the Fraser Valley to nine.

The Canadian Food and Inspection Agency says there are 7,000 birds at the infected farm and it brings the total number of infected birds to 180,800.

A timeline of the virus shows it was first detected by the CIFA at a turkey farm in Abbotsford (with 28,000 turkeys) and a broiler breeder farm in Chilliwack (13,000 birds) on Dec. 1. It then spread to the following:

  • Dec. 4: two broiler breeder farms in Abbotsford (14,000 and 25,000 birds)
  • Dec. 6: Abbotsford turkey farm (33,000 turkeys)
  • Dec. 9: Abbotsford turkey farm (33,000 turkeys)
  • Dec. 10: two broiler breeder farms in Abbotsford (19,000 and 8,800)
  • Dec. 11: Abbotsford broiler breeder farm (7,000)

After a fifth poultry farm was quarantined in B.C. last weekend due to avian flu, the CFIA set up a primary control zone to keep the outbreak contained.

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The primary control zone, which covers the southern half of B.C. from the Pacific Ocean east to the Alberta border, north to Highway 16 and south to the US border, will remain in place until the CFIA is confident the virus is contained, said Dr. Harpreet Kochhar, Canada’s chief veterinary officer.

In spite of the CFIA putting in measures of the primary control zone, Dr. Kochhar said in an early press conference that there is a possibility the influenza could spread to other farms. This is due in large part to the pathogenic makeup of the virus and it being highly contagious.

READ MORE: What’s this recent turkey cull going to mean for the upcoming holidays? Will there be a shortage of turkeys in B.C?

Officials with the CFIA said they are systematically destroying the birds according to international guidelines, starting with the broiler-breeder chicken farm in Chilliwack, B.C., where the H5N2 strain of flu was first detected.

The outbreak of the highly-virulent strain of the flu has prompted several countries or regions, including Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, South Africa and Mexico, to ban poultry products from the B.C. or the whole of Canada. The U.S. has imposed restrictions on all poultry products from B.C.

READ MORE: Should Canadians be alarmed by H5N1 bird flu death?

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Kochhar said “these markets will be regained” once it has been proven the virus is under control.