B.C. to hold final avian flu virtual information session Monday

Final avian flu session

The last of eight virtual information sessions for avian flu will take place Monday.

B.C. has seen an increase in avian flu outbreaks amongst poultry flocks this year, with local outbreaks in Kelowna, Spallumcheen, Enderby, Summerland, and in the Kootenays.

In response, B.C.'s Ministry of Agriculture and Food has been holding a number of online information sessions this fall for poultry owners in the province.

The sessions are led by B.C. government veterinary specialists. Attendees will learn about:

  • improving flock or farm biosecurity to reinforce against 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
  • resources available for non-commercial bird owners, including diagnostic services through the B.C. Animal Health Centre

Since April of this year, more than 60 avian flu cases have been identified in the province. Of these, more than 30 have been identified since Nov. 16.

Wild birds across B.C. have also tested positive for a number of strains of avian flu this year. As a result, the BC SPCA asked residents last May to remove bird feeders and bird baths from their yards, to help prevent the spread of diseases.

The eighth and final information session will be held Monday from 5:30 to 8 p.m. There is no charge to view the presentation, but those interested will need to pre-register here.

Avian flu poses a low risk to humans, although people who are in close contact with sick birds can fall ill. It's very rare for the disease to spread between humans though.

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