Avian Influenza was confirmed in a small flock of birds in the Peace River Regional District on Thursday.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has taken action to quarantine the affected flock at their current location. Both the CFIA and the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food will continue to respond to the situation as new measures become necessary. 

Notifiable Avian Influenza cases, caused by certain subtypes of the virus, cause severe disease in birds. All cases must be reported to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

Signs of Avian Influenza in birds include high mortality or sudden death; decreased food consumption; huddling, depression, or closed eyes; respiratory signs; decreased egg production; watery, greenish diarrhea; excessive thirst; and swollen wattles and combs.

If a sick or dead bird is discovered in the wild, the ministry states that the Wild Bird Mortality Investigation Program hotline is available to report sightings at 1-866-431-2473.

Bird owners are responsible to report any cases they may observe. Sick birds are not to be removed from the property if discovered. If a flock exhibits any unexplainable illness or deaths, the province said in a release, bird owners ought to seek professional aid to collect samples for testing. 

To prevent the spread of Avian Influenza, the ministry has ordered the commingling of birds restricted during events like auctions, bird shows, fairs, and any other trading or displaying where birds from multiple sources can be present. 

If a flock resides within 10 km of an infected premises, a primary control zone (PCZ) may be established to restrict the movement of poultry and poultry products. Though none are currently defined in the Peace River Regional District, the interactive map updated by the province can be found here.

Rules and orders that apply specifically to PCZs can be found here.

Owners should contact their veterinarian or the nearest Canada Food Inspection Agency Office here.

Grace Giesbrecht

Grace Giesbrecht is a news reporter for EnergeticCity.ca who recently graduated from Trinity Western University with a bachelor of arts in Media + Communications. She was born and raised just outside of Fort St. John. She began reporting for her university’s student newspaper and interned with Ottawa Life Magazine where she developed a passion for asking questions, telling stories, and the written word. In her free time, you can find her drinking coffee, snowboarding, or reading novels.