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Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza in British Columbia

by 5m Editor
21 February 2004, at 12:00am

CANDA - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has received test results indicating the presence of low pathogenic avian influenza on a farm in British Columbia. This low pathogenic H7 virus is a milder form than the highly pathogenic H5 which currently exists in Asia.

Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza in British Columbia - CANDA - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has received test results indicating the presence of low pathogenic avian influenza on a farm in British Columbia. This low pathogenic H7 virus is a milder form than the highly pathogenic H5 which currently exists in Asia.

As part of the ongoing surveillance, the CFIA will be conducting additional tests that will provide additional information about the virus. These test results may assist animal health experts in investigating the origin of the virus, as well as any additional cases, should they exist.

Health Canada has confirmed today the presence of mild respiratory symptoms in some workers at the farm. Exposed persons initially reported no symptoms of respiratory illness but were advised to closely monitor their health. Out of the nine persons exposed on the farm, five have since reported mild respiratory symptoms. Those who have been exposed and have symptoms are being treated with the antiviral drug, oseltamivir. They have also been offered influenza vaccination. Health Canada, provincial and local health officials are working together to continuously monitor the situation.

The CFIA continues to take a precautionary approach to the animal health aspect of the situation and will maintain an active investigation. The B.C. farm has been placed under quarantine to halt the spread of the disease. Approximately 16,000 birds on the farm are being humanely destroyed and will be disposed of in accordance with provincial regulations, environmental management practices and internationally accepted disease control guidelines.

The CFIA has established an active surveillance program and will begin surveying all commercial poultry farms within a 5 km radius of the quarantined premises.

As an additional safeguard, the CFIA will also be tracking all eggs hatched by the infected birds. These eggs would have been sent to one hatchery and not for direct human consumption. Although science has demonstrated that transmission from mother to offspring is generally not effective, the CFIA continues to address all possibilities in its investigation.

The CFIA has dedicated all needed resources to address this issue and will continue to keep the public informed on the investigation.

Source: Canadian Food Inspection Agency - 20th February 2004

5m Editor