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Province to hold avian flu prevention information sessions

Keeping small flock-poultry safe from avian flu will be the top message of information sessions on the island next week.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Food will be holding the sessions on Salt Spring Island and the Cowichan and Comox valleys between Oct. 12 and 14.

Registration is mandatory, but there’s no cost according to the province. They add attendees will get a free biosecurity kit containing tools and information to help maintain good biosecurity practices.

They will focus on the avian flu virus and how farmers can protect their flocks and prepare for impacts if birds get sick. Attendees will learn about:

  • Improving flock or farm biosecurity to reinforce against disease outbreaks
  • Recognizing the signs of avian influenza and how to report cases
  • How foreign animal disease regulations affect small-flock poultry
  • What to expect if a flock is positive for avian influenza
  • Resources available for non-commercial bird owners, including diagnostic services through the BC Animal Health Centre.

Sessions will be held at:

  • Glenora Community Hall, 3660 Glenora Rd., Duncan, 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., on Wednesday, Oct. 12
  • Merville Hall, 1245 Fenwick Rd., Merville, 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 13
  • Lions Club of Salt Spring Island, 103 Bonnet Ave., Salt Spring Island, 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fri, Oct. 14

Avian influenza (H5) is a federally regulated disease and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency leads investigations and responses.

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They say wild birds have tested positive for the strain in multiple regions of the province. Twenty-two cases of avian flu have been confirmed in B.C. small and commercial poultry flocks since mid-April.

The province adds the risk of avian flu increases each spring and fall with bird migration.

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