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Avian influenza detected in Mountain View County

Canadian Food Inspection Agency has placed infected premises in Mountain View County and Ponoka County under quarantine; movement control measures on other farms within the area being established

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - Highly pathogenic avian influenza, subtype H5N1, has been detected in two poultry flocks in Mountain View County, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said.

The two flocks are one of three recently found in Alberta, the other being in Ponoka County. All three were confirmed on April 6. The agency has not provided further details about the cases in Mountain View County, including whether the two flocks are on the same property.

CFIA says each infected premises has been placed under quarantine. CFIA has begun an investigation and will be establishing movement control measures on other farms within that area, according to the agency.

Jeff Holmes, Mountain View County's chief administrative officer, says the municipality has been informed of the two cases, but has not been told where exactly the flocks are located.

“We got notification late yesterday (April 7) from the CFIA that they did find two location in Mountain View County,” said Holmes. “The response will come form the CFIA and they will take the lead in that and they will let us know if they need any assistance but at this point in time they have not requested any assistance from the county.”

Asked if the CFIA has instructed the country to do anything in response to the cases, he said no.

“There has been no direction for us to change anything,” he said.

The CFIA says avian influenza (AI), commonly known as “bird flu”, is a contagious viral infection that can affect several species of food-producing birds as well as pet birds and wild birds. 

Avian influenza viruses can be classified into two categories: low pathogenicity (LPAI) and high pathogenicity (HPAI) viruses, based on the severity of the illness caused in birds. 

Highly pathogenic viruses can cause severe illness and death in birds.

Avian influenza viruses, such as the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus present in Asia, can, on rare occasions, cause disease in humans.

Transmission to humans has occurred when people have had close contact with infected birds or heavily contaminated environments.

Due to the potential for human infection, it is recommended that people working with poultry suspected of being infected with avian influenza, or in contact with such poultry, wear protective clothing. This includes, face masks, goggles, gloves and boots.

A call to CFIA seeking more information was not immediately returned Friday morning.

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