Calgary

Canadian farmers battle avian flu as bird death toll hits 1.7M

Canadian poultry and egg producers have now lost more than 1.7 million farmed birds to a highly contagious strain of avian influenza.

Alberta is the hardest hit province, with 900,000 birds dead and 23 farms affected

The strain of avian influenza affecting Canadian chicken and turkey farmers can be spread by wild and domestic birds. (David Mdzinarishvili/Reuters)

Canadian poultry and egg producers have now lost more than 1.7 million farmed birds to a highly contagious strain of avian influenza.

The latest numbers are provided by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which says the tally includes both birds that have died of the virus and birds that have been humanely euthanized to prevent the disease's spread.

Alberta is the hardest hit province, with 900,000 birds dead and 23 farms affected.

Ontario is the second hardest hit, with 23 affected farms and 425,000 birds dead.

The strain of avian influenza currently affecting chicken and turkey farmers throughout North America can be spread easily by both wild and domestic birds.

Farmers are being encouraged to keep birds indoors, restrict visitors and ramp up biosecurity measures to help halt the spread.

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