Avian flu confirmed at four Fraser Valley farms after testing
Virus does not pose a risk to humans if properly handled
The federal government has confirmed the type of avian flu that has infected poultry at two Fraser Valley farms, while also saying birds at two additional farms are also infected.
Dr. Harpreet Kochhar, Canada's chief veterinary officer, says test results indicate birds at a turkey farm in Abbotsford and a chicken farm in Chilliwack were infected with high-pathogenic H5N2 avian flu.
He says further testing at two other nearby farms that received chickens from the Chilliwack site have been confirmed H5 avian flu.
There have been three previous outbreaks in Canada involving the low-path strain of H5N2 — two in B.C. and one in Manitoba.
Officials have cautioned that the virus does not pose a risk to consumers if poultry meat is properly handled and cooked, though in rare cases it can be transmitted to people who work in close contact with the animals.
Thousands of turkeys, chickens, and eggs are being destroyed at the farms in Abbotsford and Chilliwack and the farmers will be compensated.
The B.C. Poultry Association has said it's confident biosecurity measures will be able to stop the spread of avian flu in the region.
No human has become ill from H5 influenza outbreak, according to public health officials.
World markets react to B.C. avian flu outbreak
Meanwhile, the avian flu outbreak has led to trade restrictions in several Asian markets, according to Agriculture Canada.
Japan has imposed trade restrictions on all Canadian poultry products, and chicks from B.C..
South Korea has banned imports of Canadian chicks, and Taiwan has put trade restrictions on B.C. poultry and poultry products, said Agriculture Canada in an emailed statement.
Hong Kong's ban covers any poultry meat or products from the Fraser Valley Regional District "for the protection of Hong Kong's public health," according to a statement from the government of Hong Kong's Food and Environmental Hygiene Department.
Hong Kong imported 7,000 tonnes of frozen poultry and about 170,000 poultry eggs from Canada between January and October of this year, said the statement.
Hong Kong has had its own problems with avian flu, including an H5N1 outbreak in 2011 that lead to the slaughter of more than 19,000 birds and a ban on the sale of live poultry for three weeks.
With files from CBC News