Protect your poultry: bird flu detected in small flock in Metro Vancouver

Small flocks of birds in Richmond and Kelowna have tested positive for bird flu, and people with backyard chicken coops are urged to remain vigilant while caring for their chickens.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) confirmed on May 4 that two small poultry flocks tested positive for H5N1, which is highly contagious.

The contaminated area has been quarantined by the CFIA and the BC Department of Agriculture and Food notified producers within 12 kilometers of the flocks with positive test results.

According to the CFIA, infected birds may have come into contact with infected migrating wild birds.

Wild birds in Vanderhoof, Lac la Hache, Bowen Island, Delta and Vancouver have already tested positive for the H5 strains of avian influenza. While they probably don’t interact with people, they can try to interact with birds in backyards.

Do you have any birds of your own to worry about? Keep your coop safe by eliminating or reducing the chances for your flock to encounter wild birds and other people. Cleaning and sanitizing the area where you house them will also help.

The first confirmation of H5N1 in poultry in BC was at a commercial producer in the North Okanagan Regional District in mid-April, the CFIA said.

“Avian influenza is a federally regulated disease, and the CFIA is leading the investigation and response with provincial support for testing, mapping, surveillance and removal,” it said in its statement.

“Owners of small herds or backyard herds are urged to remain vigilant and take appropriate preventive measures.”

If you see dead wild birds, call the Research program on mortality of wild birds.

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