© AgMedia Inc.
by SUSAN MANN
Ontario turkey farmer John Kikkert is concerned that low pathogenic avian influenza is in Canada but he isn’t worried that it will spread here from British Columbia.
“It’s quite a ways away,” notes the Smithville-area farmer.
Earlier this week, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) identified the virus found on a commercial turkey operation in southern B.C. as H5N2 and preliminary tests indicate the strain of virus is low pathogenic. The virus was first discovered on the farm last month.
Last week, about 60,000 birds on the B.C. farm were humanely destroyed and they’re being composted in two barns on the farm. Thirty-six premises have been quarantined, including ones within a three-kilometre radius of the infected premises and some that have had known contact with the farm when the virus may have been there. Before moving poultry or poultry products off the quarantined farms, samples must be tested and confirmed negative before CFIA will issue licenses for transportation to market.
Chicken Farmers of Ontario operations director Dennis O’Connor says they don’t have an increased concern that the disease would come to Ontario from B.C. But “we have a concern that all our people are using their food safety programs and invoking proper biosecurity.”
O’Connor adds that B.C. has very high standards and good protocols. “They’re very experienced in making sure it doesn’t spread.”
The strain found in B.C. isn’t the same as the high pathogenic H5N1 strain that’s infected hundreds of people, mainly in Asia, and caused about 250 deaths. In those instances, infection occurred through direct contact with infected birds or their fluids. Avian influenza is a bird disease and doesn’t cross easily from birds to infect humans, it says in a CFIA information update. BF