ARCHIVED - CFIA continues avian influenza investigation in British Columbia

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The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is continuing its investigation into an outbreak of avian influenza on two farms in British Columbia's Fraser Valley.

The two farms continue to be under quarantine to control disease spread, and two additional farms in the Fraser Valley have been placed under quarantine today. These farms were determined to be at high risk since they received birds from one of the original farms. Birds on these new farms were also showing signs of illness.

As avian influenza is highly contagious and can spread rapidly, it is possible that additional at-risk farms may be identified in the coming days. Poultry farmers are encouraged to report any suspicious symptoms to the CFIA.

The CFIA will continue to advise the public and the poultry industry if additional farms are confirmed to be affected.

Testing continues in order to confirm pathogenicity. Results are expected within days.

In the coming days, the CFIA will humanely euthanize and dispose of all birds on the infected premises in accordance with provincial environmental regulations and internationally accepted disease control guidelines.

When animals affected by a disease are ordered destroyed by the CFIA under the Health of Animals Act, the farmer is also informed that they will receive compensation. The CFIA is dedicated to working directly with affected producers so that the compensation process runs as smoothly as possible.

For animals ordered destroyed, the CFIA bases compensation amounts on the animal's market value (up to a maximum amount as stipulated in the Compensation for Destroyed Animals Regulations), taking into consideration factors such as genetic background, age and production records. For example, a normal eating chicken is assigned a rate of $20 per bird, a breeding chicken is $1200 per bird, a turkey is $70 per bird, and a breeding turkey is $1050 per bird. Please refer to the Schedule in the Regulations for accurate amounts.

Normally, a producer can expect compensation in 6 to 10 weeks.

Beyond the CFIA's compensation, other financial assistance may be available through programs administered by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and, in some cases, provincial or territorial governments. Costs and losses considered by these programs may include business disruption and other extraordinary costs incurred due to disease.

Avian influenza viruses do not pose risks to food safety when poultry and poultry products are properly handled and cooked. Avian influenza rarely affects humans that do not have consistent contact with infected birds. Public health authorities stand ready to take precautionary measures as warranted.

The CFIA has mobilized all available resources to manage this situation. The Agency continues to work closely with the Province of British Columbia, the owners of the infected birds, and the poultry industry to manage this outbreak.

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