Not unexpectedly – since we were informed an additional farm was being tested earlier in the week (see CFIA Statement: H5N2 Expands To 2 More Farms In BC) – the 9th poultry operation in Southern British Columbia has been found to be infected with the HPAI H5N2 virus.
Newly added is a chicken farm in Abbotsford, BC where about 7,000 birds will be destroyed.
Unlike some of the other H5 avian flu viruses, H5N2 is not viewed as posing a serious human health threat (see WHO: Human Risk From H5N2 Is Low), although we have seen some limited evidence that H5N2 might be able to infect humans (see Taiwan: Three Poultry Workers Show H5N2 Antibodies).
This is the fourth outbreak of avian flu in the Fraser Valley region over the past decade. The biggest by far was an H7N3 outbreak in 2004 that required the culling of 17 million birds, cost the Canadian economy tens of millions of dollars, and resulted in at least two mild human infections (see EID Journal report Human Illness from Avian Influenza H7N3, British Columbia)
Since then there have been three H5N2 outbreaks (2005, 2009 & 2014), with the first two being LPAI (low pathogenic) and this latest one HPAI (Highly pathogenic).