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8th December 2014  Content supplied by: Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Avian Influenza Confirmed as a Highly Pathogenic H5N2 Virus

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)'s testing at the National Centre for Foreign Animal Diseases has confirmed the strain causing the avian influenza outbreak on two farms in the Fraser Valley as a highly-pathogenic H5N2 virus.

The Province of British Columbia has informed the CFIA that preliminary test results from the two additional farms that were quarantined are presumptive positive for H5 avian influenza. The CFIA will conduct further confirmatory testing.

Avian influenza viruses do not pose risks to food safety when poultry and poultry products are properly handled and cooked. Avian influenza rarely affects humans that do not have consistent contact with infected birds. Any illness would be mild. Public health authorities are ready to take precautionary measures as required.

H5N2 is a subtype that is known to affect wild and domestic birds. A highly pathogenic virus causes severe illness and death in birds, particularly poultry, whereas a low pathogenic virus causes less severe illness and lower rates of mortality.

A low-pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza virus caused outbreaks in Manitoba in 2010 and British Columbia in 2009.

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Date Published: 8th December 2014

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