Over 230K Birds Now Affected by B.C.'s Avian Influenza Outbreak


The province of British Columbia has confirmed a tenth barn is infected with avian influenza.

This news comes only two weeks after the province notified the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) of the detection of an H5 subtype in two barns in B.C.’s Fraser Valley, later identified as the highly pathogenic H5N2. Avian influenza has now been confirmed in ten barns, affecting more than 230, 000 birds.

CFIA's List of Premises Infected with Avian Influenza
CFIA’s List of Premises Infected with Avian Influenza

As of Friday, December 12, 2014, the CFIA had completed the depopulation of birds in barns 1-7.

The euthanized birds will be composted in the barns, in accordance with provincial regulations.

Trade Restrictions

Media outlets are reporting at least eight countries have restricted poultry trade as a result of these occurrences. Some, have decided to restrict goods from all of Canada, though the disease has only been confirmed in British Columbia.

Countries with imposed restrictions or bans include: Singapore, the United States, Taiwan, South Korea, South Africa, China, Japan and Mexico.

Preventing Spread within Canada

The CFIA established a Primary Control Zone on December 8, restricting movement of birds in an attempt to control the spread of the disease. The area, bordered by the Pacific Ocean, highway 16, Alberta and the United States, was divided into three sub-zones: infected, restricted and security.

The boundary of the infected includes land up to 3km from confirmed barns. The restricted zone surrounds that, running roughly 3-10km from the infection site. The security zone accounts for the rest of the Primary Control Zone.

A permit is needed to move captive birds or poultry products/biproducts that have come into contact with captive birds within and across the Primary Control Zone.

According to the Chicken Farmers of Canada, farmers can mitigate the risk of bird flu in their barns by:

  • Keeping poultry in closed poultry houses
  • Keeping wild birds and their feces away from poultry and poultry feed
  • Sealing poultry house attics and cover ventilation openings with screens
  • Thoroughly and routinely clean ingall equipment, vehicles, including service vehicles, clothing and footwear before and after coming into contact with poultry
  • Ensuring proper hygiene practices for all persons coming into contact with poultry
  • Maintaining high sanitation standards in and around poultry houses
  • Isolating or avoiding the introduction of new birds into existing poultry flocks if their health status is unknown
  • Limiting access to poultry houses, including farm workers, feed suppliers, poultry veterinarians, catching crews, sawdust and shavings suppliers, agricultural service personnel and casual visitors
  • Using clean water
  • Ensuring thorough cleaning and disinfection for all cages transporting birds
  • Maintaining a log of all visitors coming into contact with poultry.

CFIA is urging poultry producers to take an active role in preventing the spread of the disease through the implementation of strict biosecurity measures. Any suspicious symptoms should immediately be reported to the CFIA.

Avian influenza is a reportable disease under the Health of Animals Act.

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