Officials have detected a strain of high-pathogenic avian influenza in two more B.C. small poultry flocks.
The B.C. Ministry of Agriculture and Food said the H5N1 avian influenza virus was most recently detected in small poultry flocks in Richmond and Kelowna.
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The infected premises have been placed under quarantine by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and the ministry said producers within a 12-kilometre radius have been informed.
The poultry are believed to have contracted the virus through contact with infected migrating wild birds.
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The virus sweeping across North America was first detected in B.C. at a commercial poultry producer in the North Okanagan last month. It has since been detected in two other small poultry flocks in Kelowna and the Kootenays.
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The ministry is urging owners of small or backyard flocks to be vigilant and implement preventative measures to protect their birds.
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Those measures include reducing opportunities for poultry and wild birds to interact, reducing human access to the flock, and boosting cleaning, disinfection and sanitization of clothing or items that enter areas where the poultry are housed.
Owners who believe their birds may have avian influenza are required to call their veterinarian or nearest CFIA Animal Health Office.
The ministry said infections in wild birds have been confirmed in the Vanderhoof, Lac la Hache, Bowen Island and Vancouver areas.
H5N1 rarely causes illness in humans, can cause serious disease and death in birds, particularly poultry.
Avian flu cases have been confirmed in poultry and non-poultry flocks several other provinces, including 23 in Alberta, 21 in Ontario, seven in Saskatchewan and one in Manitoba.
— With files from the Canadian Press
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