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Bird flu detected on Central Alberta farm

Canadian Food Inspection Agency enacts control zone to prevent spread of highly pathogenic H5N1
The CFIA's primary control zone enacted around a commercial poultry operation in Mountain View County on Feb. 21. Screenshot

The province’s second H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak of 2024 was declared this week at a commercial poultry operation in Mountain View County.

The Canadian Food and Inspection Agency (CFIA) reported that the outbreak was detected Monday, Feb. 19 southeast of Olds.

On Wednesday, Feb. 21, the CFIA’s executive vice-president declared that a primary control zone (PCZ) be enacted around the poultry farm.

As a result of the declaration, birds, their products and by-products, as well as things exposed to birds cannot be moved into, out of, within, or through PCZ except by permission of the agency.

Avian influenza viruses can be classified into two categories: low pathogenicity (LPAI) and high pathogenicity (HPAI) viruses, based on the severity of the illness caused in birds. Highly pathogenic viruses can cause severe illness and death in birds.

Avian influenza viruses, such as the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus present in Asia, can, on rare occasions, cause disease in humans.

The agency has not released any details about what kind of birds or how many were infected or how many died. It is in an area where previous outbreaks have occurred.

It is the province’s second outbreak of 2024.

The first was detected at a non-commercial backyard poultry farm in Vermillion River County on Feb. 9.

According to the World Organisation for Animal Health, out of 90 susceptible birds, there were 84 cases found resulting in the death of all 84. Six birds were killed and disposed of.

A PCZ is still in effect for the affected property.

In 2023, there were 20 outbreaks in Alberta, with none occurring in Mountain View County.

In 2022, there were 60 outbreaks in Alberta, including seven in Mountain View County.

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