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VANCOUVER — British Columbia farms have been declared free of avian flu after a three-month surveillance period to ensure eradication of the disease in domestic poultry.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says about two dozen countries that had restricted import of birds and bird products from B.C. may now resume normal operations.

The H5N2 influenza outbreak that began last December affected 11 commercial chicken and turkey farms in the Fraser Valley, as well as a couple of backyard coops.

At the time, the agency created a control zone across the southern half of the province to stop the spread of the virus, but now says it will work toward resuming trade as quickly as possible.

The CFIA says it expects countries that restricted trade from Canada as a whole will keep restrictions in place until Ontario is also declared free of avian flu.

The agency says enhanced surveillance will continue in order to establish that B.C. has an equivalent avian flu status to the remainder of the West, Quebec and Atlantic Canada.


The Canadian Press

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