February 11, 2009- The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced today that they have confirmed the presence of H5 avian influenza virus in a second commercial poultry operation in the Fraser Valley.
Tests to date indicate that the strain of avian influenza on the new premises is also low pathogenic and similar to the original strain identified on the index premises. Further testing is underway to confirm the precise subtype and strain of the virus.
At a press conference today, Dr. Sandra Stephens, Veterinary Program Specialist with the CFIA indicated that the avian influenza detected on the second farm was found as a result of serological testing. The second infected farm was one of the 33 farms quarantined after H5N2 avian influenza was detected on a turkey farm near Abbotsford on January 22.
Blood samples from the second farm, which consists of 12,000 broiler breeders were taken January 31, and again on February 5th. Stephens indicated that this premises was near the outer perimeter of farms quarantined by the CFIA as a result of positive confirmation of avian influenza on the initial index (turkey) farm.
How each farm became infected is "still under investigation," and Stephens stated that there was no evidence of direct contact between the two farms and that the virus on the second farm likely was introduced independently.
As a result of this new finding, 10 additional farms have been placed under quarantine, bringing the total number of farms under quarantine in southern British Columbia to 43.
Stephens said that the 12,000 breeders will be humanely destroyed, starting as early as tomorrow (Thursday).
In keeping with international agreements, the CFIA is reporting this new finding to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and international trading partners.
For more information, visit the CFIA website .
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