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B.C. poultry farmers bring in quarantine measures as avian flu spreads

As cases of avian flu continue to spread across Canada, B.C. poultry farmers are implementing quarantine measures to protect their chickens from the highly infectious virus that can cause mass death.

So far, an estimated 1.7 million birds have been euthanized or killed by the virus in Canada, with the majority of infected animals in Alberta and Ontario. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said at least 68 poultry farms have been affected by the virus across the country.

Guenter Rieger, who owns and operates Rieger Farms in Armstrong, B.C., said in his 25 years of poultry farming not one of his chickens has come down with the highly infectious virus, thanks to a combination of diligence and common sense.

He's now donning full PPE around the animals and asking customers who come to pick up eggs to stay in their cars, far from the chicken coops.

"When you go into your barn you use different clothes, use different shoes, you wash your hands, you wear gloves," he said, adding the key is to keep chickens away from wild birds, like geese and ducks, that spread the virus.

"Keep the feed inside, keep the water inside so you cannot cross-contaminate any disease with your animals."

People across B.C. have been warned to remove outdoor bird feeders and birdbaths, which can encourage disease transmission by causing birds of different species to come into close contact.

The province is urging poultry farmers to be vigilant and put preventative measures in place by eliminating contact with wild birds, reducing human access to the flock and increasing cleaning and sanitization.

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