As the number of cases of avian influenza continues to rise in British Columbia, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food will hold two virtual information sessions for B.C. small-flock poultry owners.
The sessions will focus on the avian influenza virus, how owners can protect their flocks and how to prepare for potential impacts if their birds become sick.
The sessions are being led by B.C. government veterinary specialists. Attendees will learn about:
- improving flock or farm biosecurity to prevent disease outbreaks;
- recognizing the signs of avian influenza and how to report cases;
- how foreign animal disease regulations affect small-flock poultry;
- what to expect if a flock is positive for avian influenza; and
- resources available for non-commercial bird owners, including diagnostic services through the BC Animal Health Centre.
There is no cost to attend the sessions, but registration is mandatory. Both sessions will be held from 5:30 until 8:30 p.m. (Pacific time)
The first session will focus on small-flock owners in Thompson-Cariboo and northern B.C. and will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022.
Register online: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/461137503687
On Monday, Dec. 5, 2022, the second session will take place for all B.C. small-flock owners.
Register online: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/461141636047
Since the first 2022 confirmation of avian influenza in B.C. poultry in mid-April, there have been 57 cases in B.C. Eighteen were before June, and 39 since September after the fall migration began. Of the 57 cases, 35 were on commercial farms including 28 cases since Nov. 16.
- Avian influenza is a federally regulated disease and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) leads the investigation and response with provincial support for testing, mapping, surveillance and disposal.
- Wild birds have tested positive for H5 strains of avian influenza in many regions of B.C.
- On Oct. 14, 2022, B.C.’s chief veterinarian issued a general order requiring all people responsible for birds to not take birds to events such as poultry swaps, auctions, flea markets, bird shows, fairs, public displays or competitions where birds from multiple sources would be present.
- Poultry owners with birds showing symptoms of avian influenza should contact their veterinarians for assistance.
- The Wild Bird Mortality Investigation Program hotline, 1 866 431-2473, accepts public reports of dead wild birds.
- The cases in B.C. are an extension of an ongoing North American outbreak, with positive cases across Canada.
CFIA information about current state of avian influenza in Canada:
CFIA factsheet about avian influenza:
Ministry of Agriculture and Food information about avian Influenza, including what to be on the lookout for, resources for small-flock owners, deputy chief veterinarian's orders and information on testing:
Anyone requiring assistance in registering for the upcoming virtual information sessions can call the Animal Health Centre toll free at 1 800 661-9903 or email: PAHB@gov.bc.ca