Avian flu has made its way to Vancouver Island.
On Wednesday, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) confirmed that a small poultry flock in the Comox Valley tested positive for the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus.
“The infected premises has been placed under quarantine by the CFIA, and BC’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food has notified producers within a 12-kilometre radius about the positive test results,” the CFIA said.
That brings the total number of small or backyard flocks in BC to contract the virus up to seven, presumably through contact with infected wild migrating birds.
Since April, flocks have tested positive for avian influenza in Kelowna, Richmond, Armstrong and the central Kootenays.
It’s prompting officials to enact an order requiring commercial poultry producers with 100 or more birds to keep them indoors until June 13th.
Small or backyard flock owners are urged to stay vigilant and have appropriate preventative measures in place, including reducing human access to flocks and increasing cleaning, disinfection and sanitization.
The CFIA says avian flu is a federally regulated disease and notes its team is leading the investigation and response with provincial support for testing, mapping, surveillance and disposal.
“Wild birds have also tested positive for H5 strains of avian influenza in or near 100 Mile House, Bowen Island, Chilliwack, Kelowna, Metro Vancouver, Vanderhoof and Williams Lake,” the CFIA added.
Sick or dead wild bird sightings can be reported to the Wild Bird Mortality Investigation Program toll-free hotline at 1 (866) 431-2473.