H5 avian flu in Russian swans, another infected farm in British Columbia

Nov 23, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – About 250 wild swans died of an H5 avian flu virus infection on the Volga River delta in southern Russia, according to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) report yesterday that cited Russian news agencies. Tests to determine if the strain was H5N1 had not been completed.

As a result of the swan die-off, a quarantine was being enforced in an area near the city of Astrakhan, AFP reported.

H5N1 viruses have been found in birds in eight Russian provinces, and hundreds of thousands of birds have been culled to stop the outbreaks, AFP said.

Avian flu has been found on a second farm in southern British Columbia, near the farm where a low-pathogenic virus was found last week, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced yesterday. Three other farms nearby were free of the virus, the agency said.

Authorities found the second positive sample on a farm within 5 kilometers of the one near Chilliwack where a low-pathogenic H5 virus was found in a duck last week. The CFIA did not identify the virus at the second site, but an AFP report said it is suspected to be the same strain as at the first one. Con Kiley of the CFIA said there were no signs of disease on the farm, according to Bloomberg News.

The second farm is under the same ownership as the first and may have been infected by equipment moving between the two sites, the Bloomberg story said.

Officials said all 2,800 ducks and 500 geese on the second farm would be destroyed, according to AFP. Kiley told AFP that all 55,000 ducks and 800 geese on the first farm had already been culled.

The US Department of Agriculture on Nov 21 banned imports of live birds and raw poultry products from mainland British Columbia, according to Bloomberg News. The ban doesn't include Vancouver Island.

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