Four Fraser Valley farms are under quarantine after a highly pathogenic strain of avian flu is found.

Four Fraser Valley farms are under quarantine after a highly pathogenic strain of avian flu is found.

Two Chilliwack farms among the four under quarantine

Reps are trying to quell the H5N2 avian flu, a highly pathogenic strain which affects bird mortality but not human health

Officials in the Fraser Valley are racing to quell the spread of avian flu.

Four farms are under quarantine after a ‘high path’ strain of the H5 Avian influenza was detected this week.

Two broiler farms in Chilliwack are among the four, and their locations have not been identified.

It’s also not yet known how the virus touched down on the farms, but Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) reps are working to contain the strain of highly pathogenic virus, identified as H5N2.

They’re trying to avoid a similar situation to the last time they faced a low-path strain of the virus.

They’re so much further ahead now, said Ray Nickel, spokesman for the B.C. Poultry Association.

“So much has changed,” he told The Progress on Wednesday.

Improvements, from annual inspections, and mandatory bio security, to sampling and surveillance will make a difference.

One of the key messages is a reminder to the public that “it’s an animal health issue, not a human health issue,” he said.

Cook the food properly and it poses no risk to human health.

In 2008, the B.C. agriculture ministry unveiled a new $14-million lab in Abbotsford. The lab would allow response to outbreaks “faster and more efficiently.”

The Fraser Valley as a region is “highly concentrated” with poultry farming activity, as well as dairy operations.

“That’s why we have these strategies in place,” Nickel said.

How they handle visitors, service people and contractors on their farms have changed since the incidents.

What he termed the “feather and dairy” group, meaning the poultry and dairy farmers, in fact make up 40 per cent of the farm gate in the province.

So where are they at? They’ve been down a similar road before, he said. They will be extra careful, including surrounding farms in the lockdown.

Part of the reason for the regional risk, as is being suggested, may be the high number of migratory birds passing over the Fraser Valley in particular.

“It means typically we are more at risk. But the message is we’re managing that risk,” said Nickel.

He also underlined, again, the food products are safe for the public to eat. The chicken, the turkey, the eggs, all of it.

“Farmers are concerned, worried and a bit frustrated,” he said.

On Monday the news came out that two farms were hit with H5 and two more on Wednesday. All birds have been or are slated to be euthanized and farmers compensated.

In 2004, 17 million poultry were slaughtered after an avian flu with high pathogenicity, or illness severity spread across valley farms. While 14 million were cleared to hit the market, three million diseased birds were destroyed.

Recent outbreaks were less serious.

In 2005, 60,000 birds were killed after a mild version of H5 was found at a Yarrow farm. In 2009, 41 farms were placed in quarantine and 72,000 birds were slaughtered after an H5 version was found on two farms in Abbotsford. That version of the flu was determined to be “of low pathogenicity.”

No one has become ill as a result of recent virus detection.

–with files from Tyler Olsen of the Abbotsford News

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

twitter.com/chwkjourno

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Chilliwack survey asks for feedback on planned Rosedale skate park

The new structure will occupy a 3,000 square foot space in the middle of Rosedale Park

Newly installed art work honouring the Brett family aviation history in Chilliwack. (Anthem Properties)
WATCH: Neon sculpture beaming yellow light across downtown Chilliwack in the shape of a plane

New public artwork in Salish Plaza honours aviation pioneers, the Brett family of Chilliwack

Jag Deol, owner of Sangam Restaurant and Catering, is collecting non-perishable food items for the Chilliwack Salvation Army at both his restaurant locations. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Chilliwack restaurant hosts food drive for Salvation Army

Sangam restaurant will match all donations of non-perishable food that come in

Crews work on reconstructing Spadina Avenue in Chilliwack on Friday, Nov. 13, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Sprucing up of Spadina Avenue with $2.8 million redux wrapping up shortly

Curbing, trees, landscaping, irrigation and street lighting should be complete by early December

Chilliwack’s Klim twins, Matthias and Zach, are the tall guys in the back row (Zach with a green stuffie on his shoulders, Matthias to the right), helping to sort toys at the Archway Community Services Food Bank in Abbotsford. (UFV Cascades photo)
Chilliwack’s Klim twins get involved in community service with UFV men’s basketball team

No games for the G.W. Graham grads due to COVID, but they are doing other things with the Cascades

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 887 new cases

Another 13 deaths, ties the highest three days ago

Arthur Topham has been sentenced to one month of house arrest and three years of probation after breaching the terms of his probation. Topham was convicted of promoting hate against Jewish people in 2015. (Photo submitted)
Quesnel man convicted for anti-Semitic website sentenced to house arrest for probation breach

Arthur Topham was convicted of breaching probation following his 2017 sentence for promoting hatred

Langley School District's board office. (Langley Advance Times files)
‘Sick Out’ aims to pressure B.C. schools over masks, class sizes

Parents from Langley and Surrey are worried about COVID safety in classrooms

The baby boy born to Gillian and Dave McIntosh of Abbotsford was released from hospital on Wednesday (Nov. 25) while Gillian continues to fight for her life after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
B.C. mom with COVID-19 still fighting for life while newborn baby now at home

Son was delivered Nov. 10 while Gillian McIntosh was in an induced coma

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. Premier John Horgan, a Star Trek fan, can’t resist a Vulcan salute as he takes the oath of office for a second term in Victoria, Nov. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
Horgan names 20-member cabinet with same pandemic team

New faces in education, finance, economic recovery

The corporate headquarters of Pfizer Canada are seen in Montreal, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. The chief medical adviser at Health Canada says Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could be approved in Canada next month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Health Canada expects first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved next month

Canada has a purchase deal to buy at least 20 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine,

The online poster for Joel Goddard, who left his Willoughby home Nov. 10, 2020, has been updated by his family and friends who received word that he’s been found.
Langley man missing since Nov. 10 found alive and safe in Abbotsford

Family of the Willoughby area man had been searching for days. Police find him at Abbotsford Airport

Most Read