Mission now within ‘restricted zone’ for poultry movement

Avian flu hasn't yet been detected within the district as outbreak spreads.

A restricted zone limiting the movement of poultry now covers much of the Fraser Valley.

The District of Mission has not yet any avian influenza outbreaks, officials are stressing, after signs announcing movement controls for poultry sprung up around the district.

Since the discovery of avian flu at a poultry farm near Matsqui in Abbotsford last week, much of Mission is now within a 10-kilometre “restricted zone,” and signs indicating as much have been placed at several places around the district.

The zone imposes certain restrictions on the movement of poultry, but does not affect those not transporting birds, say district staff, who have received several inquiries about the issue in recent days.

“While notifiable avian influenza has been found on farms elsewhere in the Fraser Valley, it has not been found within the District of Mission,” said the district’s Michael Boronowski.

At least 233,000 birds have now either already died or been euthanized, or will be killed as officials try to stop the disease from spreading further.

Last Wednesday, CFIA chief veterinary officer Dr. Harpreet Kochhar said the discovery of more affected sites would not be a shock.

“In spite of the measures, there is a possibility that this could show up in other farms and this is something that is attributed to the highly virulent and highly pathogenic of the avian influenza virus,” he said.

In an effort to control the spread of the virus, movement restrictions have been put in place on all poultry in Southern British Columbia, with areas surrounding the farms affected under increased scrutiny and restrictions.

Officials still have not identified the source of the disease, he said.

Meanwhile, Singapore has also announced a ban on Canadian poultry products, bringing to the list of countries with trade restrictions on poultry to eight, including the United States and Mexico.

Officials say the virus does “not pose risks to food safety when poultry and poultry products are properly handled and cooked.”

-with files from Canadian Press