Update, as of November 28: At least 28 commercial farm flocks have now tested posted for avian influenza in the Fraser Valley area of BC between November 16 and November 27, including five new cases on November 27.
The number of cases of avian influenza (AI) in B.C. has risen rapidly over the past week as the Fraser Valley has become the newest hotspot in Canada for the devastating poultry disease.
At least 13 commercial farms in the Abbotsford and Chilliwack areas near the Canada-U.S. border have tested positive between November 16 and November 22, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). There were at least five cases confirmed on November 22 alone.
The list of affected farms reportedly includes broiler breeder and turkey operations.
B.C.’s chief veterinarian issued an order on September 14, 2022, requiring all regulated, quota-holding chicken and turkey operations keep their birds indoors. A second order was issued on October 14 requiring birds not be taken to commingling events, such as auctions, poultry swaps, bird shows and fairs.
Poultry owners who suspect or confirm a case in their flock must report it to the CFIA at 403-338-5225 or email [email protected].
As of November 16, the CFIA said around 3.7 million on-farm birds had died across Canada due to AI in 2022 (updated figures, including cases in B.C. over the last week, are expected to be published before the end of day Wednesday).
Outside B.C., the number of new cases in other western provinces where AI has been prevalent this fall has declined over the past few weeks, coinciding with the end of the fall migration period on the Prairies. Ontario, meanwhile, has seen two new cases in the last week — both west of London in the Municipality of Adelaide Metcalfe.
In 2004, around 17 million birds died due to an avian influenza outbreak in the Fraser Valley area — one of the worst AI outbreaks in Canadian history. The current outbreak also coincides with the one-year anniversary of severe flooding in the Fraser Valley that affected many poultry operations.