U.S.bans Canadian bird imports

Published on Thu, Nov 24, 2005 by Meg Olson

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U.S. bans Canadian bird imports

By Meg Olson

Federal agriculture officials banned poultry imports from mainland British Columbia this week after Canadian officials reported a duck infected with Avian flu on a poultry farm, according the Canadian Food Inspection Agency web site.

“When bird flu is discovered in various countries we stop importation,” said customs and border protection representative Mike Milne. “Preliminarily that will happen.”

Canadian officials have determined the virus was of a low pathogenic H5 North American strain, which is different than the H7N3 strain found during the 2004 Abbotsford outbreak.

Different strains pose a different level of risk to humans and to the state’s poultry industry, and Milne said national trade and health authorities would be weighing those risks. Reports say that the strain of flu identified in the Canadian duck is common in North America and has little to do with the virulent strain that killed flocks of wild and domestic birds and more than 60 people worldwide.

Local ports of entry got a head-start on the poultry ban, stopping the importation of live or raw poultry products over the weekend, which includes pet birds and eggs. A ban on all personal importation of beef products remains in effect in response to concerns about bovine spongiform, or mad cow disease.

The CFIA reported it is also implementing preventative measures and are preparing to kill all birds on the premises from which the duck originated. They also said surveillance is being conducted to monitor the health of domestic birds in the area as well as wild birds from Quebec, Manitoba and British Columbia.