Monday, December 21, 2015

B.C. steps up avian flu surveillance

British Columbia and federal officials are stepping up their surveillance for avian influenza carried by migrating waterfowl.

They have announced an additional $300,000 for the program which includes education forums for small flock poultry owners.

The B.C. Agriculture Ministry says the money will enable it Animal Health Centre in Abbotsford to buy specialized equipment to test sediment samples from ponds and wetlands used by waterfowl.

The funding will also support a rapid response to any future outbreaks with mobile equipment to help with the humane depopulation of infected flocks.

A case of avian flu was confirmed in B.C.'s Fraser Valley in November after a duck was shot by a hunter, but there have been no reports of infections at commercial farms this fall.

An outbreak that began in December 2014 and infected 11 commercial chicken and turkey farms in the Fraser Valley was declared eradicated in June of this year.

Ontario had three cases in Oxford County last year. The poultry marketing boards and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs ran a tight ship to keep those outbreaks from spreading and to keep any contaminated poop from migrating waterfowl out of barns.