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Cleanup Complete At Other B. C. Bird Flu Site

Cleaning and disinfection work have been completed on the second of two poultry farms in the Abbotsford, B. C. area after birds at both sites were found infected with a strain of avian flu.

The completed cleanup has been approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the CFIA said in a statement March 13.

CFIA’s approval gives Canada a three-month time frame after which it can regain its status as free of notifiable avian flu, if surveillance continues to be carried out and no more cases are found in the meantime.

Tens of thousands of birds were gassed and composted at the two infected farms, which were confirmed on Jan. 24 and Feb. 11 respectively to have birds with a low-pathogenicity strain of avian influenza.

Testing so far suggests the same “low-path” strain of H5N2 at both farms, though the exact subtype has yet to be confirmed at the second site.

Surveillance continues on commercial poultry farms within three km of the first and second infected premises and any in-contact premises still under movement restriction outside of the three-km radius.

As of March 13, CFIA said it has 33 premises quarantined relating to these two cases.

If the second case is also confirmed as “low path,” Canada also gets to keep its OIE status as free of “high-path” bird flu, which it regained in April 2008 after cleanup of an outbreak of H7N3 on a farm near Regina Beach, Sask.

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