Home Health Bird flu leads to B.C. turkey shortage

Bird flu leads to B.C. turkey shortage

by News Desk
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A 20% shortage for turkey producers in B.C. is expected to last until Christmas, the B.C. Poultry Association said.

Christmas dinners in British Columbia are likely to be a little different this year, as nearly 20 farms in the state are slaughtering hundreds of thousands of birds in an attempt to contain the bird flu virus.

From the inland to the Fraser Valley to Vancouver Island, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has identified a highly pathogenic strain (HPAI) of H5N1. H5N1 is the deadliest strain of bird flu or “bird flu” and was identified in chicken flocks as early as 42 BC. As of Wednesday afternoon, 23 outbreaks were ongoing and 275,800 birds had been killed to contain the pathogen.

Birds that have been disposed of include special birds such as broilers, ducks and laying hens. But the poultry most severely affected was turkey, said Amanda, chief information officer for the BC Poultry Association, a group that helps coordinate the state’s four poultry and egg marketing committees in an emergency. Britten says.

“The BC Turkey Marketing Board told me they looked like they were 20 percent below how much they would grow,” said Brittain. “Turkeys don’t have time to grow until Christmas, as she grows for 13 to 15 weeks.”

H5N1 has been confirmed at more than 220 locations across Canada, and 3.7 million birds have been culled since the latest outbreak began.

Seven commercial Fraser Valley poultry farms that have been hit by the virus since November 16 are under “intense disease pressure”, BC Agriculture Minister Lana Popham said.

from the wild to the farm

Outbreaks in Chilliwack and Abbotsford are not consistent with seasonal bird movements. Wild birds are known to carry the virus and infect livestock herds.

“This year’s virus is unlike anything we’ve seen before, behaving differently in both wild and poultry,” Britten said.

Scientists have isolated influenza virus variants from more than 100 wild bird species worldwide, from waterfowl such as geese, swans, ducks and seagulls to coastline species such as sandpipers, plovers and storks. Not all strains are fatal. Just as many humans survive yearly bouts of the flu, many strains of bird breeds rarely cause more than bird smell, lethargy, or fever.

Highly pathogenic strains are different. Ronald Idenberg, professor of behavioral ecology and director of Simon He Fraser University’s Center for Wildlife Ecology, says that when HPAI enters a poultry farm, it finds what is epidemiologically equivalent to a refugee camp for birds. says there are many things.

“There are thousands of birds out there. They are all immunologically naive. He told Glacier Media last spring.

Turkeys culled in Israel by foam in December 2016. Roee Shpernik/Wikipedia

The virus that causes bird flu is excreted in bird saliva, feces, and nasal secretions. If an infected animal is released near a pond, bird feeder, or in a cramped barn, it can easily infect another individual, whether wild or domesticated.

This could be where turkeys are most vulnerable, says Britten. Some are kept in open barns, with only partial walls and a tarp to protect the herd from inclement weather.

“It’s more difficult to keep migratory birds out in open barns,” she said.

Bird flu in pets and humans

Although wild birds have not transmitted the virus to humans in Canada, according to the CFIA, transmission from pet birds to humans remains a risk.

“Current science suggests that the risk of human transmission of bird flu from mammalian pets is very low,” the agency said.

Owners still recommend taking appropriate precautions To protect your pet and yourself.

It is always possible that a low pathogenic avian influenza virus evolves into a highly pathogenic virus. Such new viruses could emerge with pandemic potential among humanity.

“H5N1 infection in humans can cause severe illness and high mortality,” says WHO. “If the H5N1 virus were to mutate so that it could easily pass from person to person while retaining the ability to cause severe disease, the public health implications could be very severe. ”

Since the emergence of highly pathogenic Asian bird flu strains around the world over the past two decades, many have wondered if H5N1 could infect people like the incredibly deadly Spanish flu 100 years ago. Ydenberg said he fears that

But “it didn’t happen,” he added.

H5N1 up close
Avian influenza A H5N1 virus (shown in gold). Avian influenza A viruses do not normally infect humans. However, since 1997, several cases of human infection and outbreaks have been reported. When such infections occur, public health officials closely monitor these situations.Cynthia Goldsmith/U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Ydenberg says there is little evidence that the waves are different.

“I think you need to be vigilant here. But sure, if I was a normal person, I wouldn’t mind too much.”

That level of certainty is unlikely to be matched in the grocery store aisle this Christmas.

Britten said people shouldn’t bother eating poultry or eggs. Finding big birds and good prices is another matter.

Since January, wholesale B.C. live turkey prices have risen 15-18% depending on size, he said. Statistics Canada.

“Chicken and eggs are fine. But that’s a concern for turkeys right now,” Britten said.

“What I am hearing is that bird flu is making it very difficult for turkey farms and producers to meet demand in B.C. before Christmas. rice field.”

Using Canadian Press files

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