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H5 avian flu found at second farm in western Canada
Updated: 2005-11-23 11:33

An H5-type bird flu virus which is "low pathogenic" has been found on a second farm in Canada's western province of British Columbia (B.C.), a health official confirmed on Tuesday.

The entire flock will be culled on a Fraser Valley farm after a duck tested positive for an H5-type virus over the weekend, Cornelius Kiley, a veterinarian with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, told reporters at a televised press conference.

He said that it seemed to be the same strain that was found last week in Chilliwack, B.C., but not the deadly H5N1 strain that has killed more than 60 people in Asia since 2003.

The Fraser Valley farm is also operated by the owner of the Chilliwack farm, Kiley said.

"The second finding does not indicate worsening situation," he said, "We are probably dealing with only a low level of infection."

Though agency officials do not think that the virus has come from migrating wild birds, surveillance within five kilometers of the two infected farms has been set up.

Ray Nichol, who heads the B.C. Poultry Association, called for actions to make sure that the latest case poses no risk to either other birds or humans.

More than 65,000 birds have been slaughtered on the Chilliwack farm, while nearby farms have been placed on high alert for signs of a wider outbreak.

Following the United States, Japan on Tuesday also banned all poultry imports from Canada, Kiley confirmed earlier in the day.

B.C.'s poultry industry was devastated in 2004 when the highly infectious H7N3 strain of bird flu spread rapidly from barn to barn, leading to a cull of more than 16 million birds in the Fraser Valley.

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