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Ongoing Testing on British Columbia Farm Reveals High Pathogenic Avian Influenza

by 5m Editor
10 March 2004, at 12:00am

OTTAWA - Since the Canadian Food Inspection Agency announcement on February 23 of low pathogenic avian influenza on a Fraser Valley, B.C. farm, ongoing tests have been performed as a part of the CFIA’s investigation.

Ongoing Testing on British Columbia Farm Reveals High Pathogenic Avian Influenza OTTAWA - Since the Canadian Food Inspection Agency announcement on February 23 of low pathogenic avian influenza on a Fraser Valley, B.C. farm, ongoing tests have been performed as a part of the CFIA’s investigation.

These tests now indicate that both low and high pathogenic forms of the H7N3 virus were present on the same farm.

The high pathogenic virus was only found in the second barn containing the younger birds. The presence of both forms of the virus on the same premise is not unheard of but is rare. This ongoing testing indicated that the virus was in the process of changing from low to high pathogenic in these younger birds.

The risk to human health remains low. This is not the same virus which currently exists in Asia. Low and high pathogenicity refers to how the virus behaves in birds. Although the H7N3 virus has not been known to cause illness in humans, every possible precaution continues to be taken in order to protect human health regardless of the virus' pathogenicity.

The CFIA’s stringent measures in response to the initial suspicion of low pathogenic avian influenza surpass current international guidelines. In fact, the actions taken by the CFIA follow international guidelines for high pathogenic cases of the disease and are in line with proposed changes to current World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) guidelines with regards to the H5 and H7 forms of the virus. The CFIA continues to survey poultry farms in the area and has quarantined a second farm where a low level of illness appears to exist among some of the birds. Testing is currently underway.

The CFIA responded quickly to the initial discovery of low pathogenic avian influenza by placing the farm under quarantine on February 18, euthanizing all infected birds on February 20, disposing of them, and establishing an active surveillance program. The farm will remain under quarantine until cleaning and disinfection is complete.

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 - 9th March 2004

5m Editor