Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Government of British Columbia

Government of British Columbia

April 03, 2009 17:33 ET

Avian Influenza Movement Restrictions Lifted in British Columbia

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 3, 2009) - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has lifted all remaining movement restrictions on birds and bird products in southern British Columbia. No additional cases of avian influenza were found during extensive testing of commercial poultry in the area.

Humans are rarely affected by avian influenza, except in a limited number of cases when individuals were in close contact with infected birds. Nevertheless, public health authorities took all precautionary measures as warranted and there was no reported human illness associated with this outbreak.

The movement restrictions were put in place following the discovery of low pathogenicity H5N2 avian influenza in a commercial poultry operation on January 24, 2009. During the ensuing investigation, the CFIA declared a second operation infected on February 11. All birds on the two farms were humanely destroyed and composted on-site in accordance with international standards and provincial environmental requirements.

"The fact that this outbreak was quickly contained and eliminated clearly demonstates why Canada's animal health system is among the best in the world ," said Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. "The cooperation of affected bird owners, industry and our provincial and municipal partners played a key role in the success of our response."

Infected farms must remain under CFIA surveillance for 21 days following the cleaning and disinfection of barns, vehicles and equipment. Both farms have passed this 21-day period and are free to introduce new birds onto the property and resume regular operation.

"The coordinated efforts of all levels of government provided an unprecedented response to this outbreak," noted Ron Cantelon, B.C. Minister of Agriculture and Lands. "By working together, we were able to minimize the impact to industry and get those affected back into business as quickly as possible."

As a final step in the outbreak response, the CFIA will conduct broader testing of poultry operations in B.C. Consistent with the guidelines of the World Organization for Animal Health, this surveillance will allow Canada to regain its status as an avian influenza-free country.

For more information, visit the CFIA website at

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