Canada bird flu virus in Ontario similar to U.S. strain

Wed Apr 8, 2015 4:46pm EDT
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WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - The bird flu virus confirmed this week in the Canadian province of Ontario is the highly pathogenic H5N2 strain, similar to one spreading across the United States, a government agency said on Wednesday.

The strain discovered on a Woodstock, Ontario, turkey farm is the same subtype as one detected in the western province of British Columbia in December and that has spread across U.S. states in recent months, said Paul Mayers, vice president of policy and programs at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

Mayers said Hong Kong has restricted imports of poultry and poultry products from Oxford County, Ontario, and Uruguay has banned imports of Canadian hatching eggs. On Tuesday, CFIA said Japan and Taiwan had imposed trade restrictions.

Nine Ontario farms, including the single farm confirmed to have the virus, are under quarantine.

About 10,800 turkeys have died at the Woodstock farm and an additional 34,000 birds there will be euthanized using carbon dioxide gas, CFIA said.

The agency has not determined how the virus spread to Ontario, but said it could be transmitted by wild birds.

(Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by Peter Galloway)