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Avian flu detected in Fraser Valley, home to 80% of British Columbia's poultry farms

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has confirmed a commercial poultry farm in Abbotsford has tested positive for the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus.

It marks the first case of avian flu detected in the Fraser Valley, where 80 per cent of British Columbia's poultry farms are located.

The infected premises have been placed under quarantine by the CFIA and the ministry has notified producers within a 10-kilometre radius, the government said Thursday in a statement.

Previous outbreaks in the Fraser Valley have prompted culls of millions of birds, although poultry groups now say they have tight control measures to prevent the spread from one farm to the next.

Amanda Brittain, the director of communications with B.C. Egg, said the affected flock was a turkey farm in west Abbotsford. 

She said anytime the virus is detected, the entire flock must be humanely euthanized to prevent spread.

Avian flu outbreak spreads to Vancouver Island
In this case, Brittain said the farmer lost about 4,000 birds.

"It's very concerning to farmers ... this farmer would have lost his or her whole flock," said Brittain.

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