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Avian flu confirmed in Cypress County

Avian influenza has been detected at a Cypress County property, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed. The agency has not provided numbers of birds infected, but described the flock as ‘small.’ The property is classified as ‘non-poultry.’

“We had communication last week between the affected landowner and Cypress County, advising us there might have been a possibility of this,” Jeffrey Dowling, director of municipal services for Cypress County, told the News. “They were in touch with the federal government and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and submitted some samples to the laboratory for confirmation.

“Cypress County was informed over the weekend, the situation was positive for the H5N1 pathogen. As far as we know, at this point, the situation is isolated to a single location, west of Medicine Hat, on the western part of Cypress County. And it does involve poultry and chickens.”

Outbreaks of avian influenza have been reported across Canada. As of May 19, Alberta has the greatest number of outbreaks reported (28 properties) and birds affected (948,000). In total, 85 Canadian properties are experiencing outbreaks, with 1.8 million birds infected.

The CFIA is reminding producers to practise good bio-security habits, such as ensuring birds remain in a fenced-in area, enforcing controlled entry and exist points, changing footwear or providing foot coverings, frequent hand-washing, among others.

While humans are susceptible to H5N1, the CFIA maintains risk of transmission between humans and birds is low. The agency says there is no evidence to suggest consuming infected poultry leads to human infection.

Outbreak in B.C.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has confirmed an outbreaks of avian influenza in a small flock in southern British Columbia.

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