The province has confirmed an outbreak of avian influenza at a farm in the North Okanagan.
"With the recent confirmation of avian influenza in several provinces and U.S. states, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food has been working closely with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and B.C. poultry producers to ensure enhanced prevention and preparedness measures are being taken to protect poultry flocks in B.C." Minister of Agriculture and Food Lana Popham said in a press release issued Thursday morning.
"Despite these efforts, the CFIA has confirmed the presence of avian influenza at a farm in the Regional District of North Okanagan.
"The CFIA is leading the investigation and response, with provincial support for testing, mapping, surveillance and disposal. The ministry has also activated its emergency operations centre and will work with the CFIA, producers, industry and other stakeholders to effectively respond to this outbreak and any others that may occur in B.C."
While the location of the farm has not been released, it is believed to be in the Enderby area.
All poultry producers, including backyard poultry owners, are advised to increase biosecurity practices and to be vigilant and monitor for signs of the bird flu in their flocks.
"To further protect farmers and prevent the spread of avian influenza in B.C., the deputy chief veterinarian has issued an order requiring all commercial poultry flocks in the province with more than 100 birds to be moved indoors until the spring migration ends in May," Popham adds.
If avian influenza is suspected, poultry producers should immediately contact their local veterinarian or the provincial Animal Health Centre for advice and information.
"The public health risk is extremely low and there is no risk to food safety," says Popham.
"I know this is an incredibly stressful time for our poultry and egg producers. They have endured so much over the past two years. They have shown they are truly resilient. We are here to help, and we will work together to get through this."