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Bird flu quarantine net widens in B.C.

The process of containing bird flu to a single poultry farm in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley has led federal inspectors to quarantine nine more properties on Sunday.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency reported Sunday that it has now quarantined a total of 36 premises, including the commercial farm where an H5 strain of avian influenza was confirmed Jan. 24.

Of the nine properties quarantined as of Sunday, seven were within a three-km radius of the farm in question, and the remaining two were outside that radius.

“These premises have been identified as a result of the assessment of the movement of people, products and equipment through the investigation,” CFIA wrote. “Investigations and surveillance activities are continuing and as new information becomes available, this number may change.”

Of the 36 premises now under quarantine, a total of 26 are within that three-km radius while 10 others are beyond it.

So far, CFIA said Sunday, all flocks under surveillance outside the index farm have tested negative for avian flu. “Monitoring and testing continue on all premises that have been declared infected places,” CFIA wrote.

CFIA last week oversaw the euthanasia of 60,000 birds on the initial poultry farm. The dead birds are now being composted in two barns on the farm and the compost piles’ temperatures are being monitored to ensure the flu virus is “inactivated.”

A CFIA spokesperson said Monday that the virus strain, subtype and pathogenicity have yet to be confirmed, though the agency said Jan. 24 that initial tests indicated the virus is low in pathogenicity (“low-path”).

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