B.C. declared bird flu free; international trade can resume

British Columbia has been de-clared free of avian flu. 

The announcement from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency earlier this month followed an outbreak of the bird flu virus in the Fraser Valley that began in December, spanning both backyard and commercial flocks. 

Subsequent cases of avian influenza, including the highly infectious H5N2 strain, have resulted in the deaths of millions of birds, primarily in the United States, although cases in Ontario have seen trade issues affect both countries. 

Officials suspect wild birds contributed to the spread of the disease.

“Our hope is that with this declaration, that the restrictions on trade with other countries will be re-moved,” said B.C. agriculture minister Norm Letnick.

“ I understand the United States has accepted the declaration and I’m confident that international trade can resume as normal with our other trading partners in the near future.”

The CFIA announced in March that it had removed the primary control zone in B.C., which restricted the movement of poultry products in that province.

A further 90 days of surveillance was required to meet World Organization for Animal Health standards, resulting in the recent status change in B.C. 

“I’ve asked my staff as part of our ongoing effort to improve responses when they do occur to look at what happened and see if there is any lessons that we can apply to future events,” said Letnick. 


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