Canadian Bird Flu Outbreak Prompts Restrictions from US

Bird Flu Chickens
AP Photo

Because of a confirmed outbreak of bird flu in British Columbia, Canada, U.S. authorities have announced immediate restrictions on the importation of live birds and certain bird and poultry products from the area. Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), commonly known as bird flu, is a type of influenza virus that has adapted to birds but can also be transmitted to humans, often through contact with dead infected birds, or contact with infected fluids.

Earlier this month, thousands of birds died at two poultry farms in British Columbia in a confirmed bird flu outbreak, according to a report by CTV News. The farms were quarantined and the remaining birds were euthanized and destroyed on-site so as to prevent a spread of the disease. Canadian Food Inspection Agency officials supervised the euthanization of birds and the disinfection of the facilities. In total, approximately 18,000 birds were affected at the two farms.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced on their website that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) had ordered the restrictions. The restrictions designate as a “control zone” any part of the province of British Columbia south of Highway 16, and apply products or animals originating in or transiting through the control zone before entering the United States.

The restrictions include a ban on importing “uncooked chicken, turkey, duck, or goose; raw eggs; live birds; hatching eggs; composted manure; and meat from hunter-harvested birds.” Hard-boiled eggs, thoroughly-cooked poultry like deli meats, and “commercially packaged, shelf-stable” poultry products like canned chicken are still permitted. Any Canadian-made pet food containing turkey, chicken, duck, or goose must remain in its original container, is limited to 50 lbs. total weight, and cannot be imported once opened unless the pet is also present in the vehicle. Pet birds are also under various restrictions, including required inspections and in some cases quarantines.

CPB is encouraging travelers to check the travel advisories posted on their website before planning any trips, especially if they will be bringing any pets.

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