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Canada expanding surveillance, increasing testing for avian flu

OTTAWA - The Canadian government is expanding its surveillance program for a form of avian flu amid a growing outbreak in U.S. dairy cattle.

Fragments of highly pathogenic avian influenza have been detected in pasteurized milk sold in the U.S. and a statement from Canada's health agencies says lactating dairy cattle being imported from the United States will now require negative tests.

The statement says officials will be conducting enhanced testing of milk at the retail level to look for viral fragments.

It says voluntary testing will also be available for cows that are not presenting with clinical signs of HPAI, as part of "enhanced industry biosecurity efforts."

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said last week about 20 per cent of milk samples from across the country tested positive for fragments of avian flu.

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