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BC farms declared free of bird flu

The quarantine on dozens of poultry farms in British Columbia's Fraser Valley has been lifted after they were found to be free of avian influenza following 21 days of negative test results.//

According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), 80 poultry farms within two surveillance zones have been declared disease-free following 21 days of negative test results.

However, the two farms where officials originally detected the virus remain under quarantine.

The lifting of the quarantine means that the normal movement of commercial poultry and poultry products on and off farms in the surveillance zones can be resumed.

CFIA had quarantined the 80 premises as a precautionary measure after a North American low-pathogenic avian influenza virus was found on two duck farms, from which samples were taken on November 18. All commercial poultry farms within a five-kilometer radius of the infected premises were placed under surveillance and birds on each were tested to make sure there were no more infected farms.

CFIA was initially concerned that the virus could spread to commercial poultry flocks and mutate into a deadly, high-pathogenic version.

Over 62,000 ducks and geese were destroyed at the two farms where the virus was discovered.

CFIA officials believe the virus may have been carried via through the shoes of a farmer or farm staff. It is also possible that He also said it was possible that wild birds, or droppings from infected wild birds, got onto the premises and infected the ducks.

Over coming days, health officials in Ottawa will be encouraging governments in Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the U.S. to resume importing B.C. poultry, CFIA said.

Late last month, American officials relaxed the United States' ban on poultry imports from British Columbia.

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