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Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture and Food, has released the following statement in response to a confirmed outbreak of avian influenza at a farm in the Okanagan. 

“With the recent confirmation of avian influenza in several provinces and U.S. states, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food has been working closely with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and B.C. poultry producers to ensure enhanced prevention and preparedness measures are being taken to protect poultry flocks in B.C.

“Despite these efforts, the CFIA has confirmed the presence of avian influenza at a farm in the Regional District of North Okanagan. The CFIA is leading the investigation and response, with provincial support for testing, mapping, surveillance and disposal. The ministry has also activated its emergency operations centre and will work with the CFIA, producers, industry and other stakeholders to effectively respond to this outbreak and any others that may occur in B.C.

“All poultry producers, including backyard poultry owners, are advised to increase their biosecurity practices and to be vigilant and monitor for signs of avian influenza in their flocks.

“To further protect farmers and prevent the spread of avian influenza in B.C., the deputy chief veterinarian has issued an order requiring all commercial poultry flocks in the province with more than 100 birds to be moved indoors until the spring migration ends in May.

“If avian influenza is suspected, poultry producers should immediately contact their local veterinarian or the provincial Animal Health Centre for advice and information.

“The public health risk is extremely low and there is no risk to food safety.

“I know this is an incredibly stressful time for our poultry and egg producers. They have endured so much over the past two years. They have shown they are truly resilient. We are here to help, and we will work together to get through this.”

Learn More:

To contact the B.C. Animal Health Centre, call 1 800 661-9903 or email PAHB@gov.bc.ca

Ministry of Agriculture and Food information on avian influenza, including what to watch for and information on testing: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/animals-and-crops/animal-health/reportable-notifiable-diseases/avian-influenza-ai

CFIA information on the current state of avian influenza in Canada: https://inspection.canada.ca/animal-health/terrestrial-animals/diseases/reportable/avian-influenza/response-to-detections-of-highly-pathogenic-avian-/eng/1640207916497/1640207916934

Deputy chief veterinarian order: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/farming-natural-resources-and-industry/agriculture-and-seafood/animal-and-crops/animal-health/general_order_-_avian_influenza_2022.pdf