Via the Aldergrove Star: Quick euthanization key during next avian influenza outbreak: scientists. For a timeline on how we handled the 2014-15 H5N2 outbreak, see this page on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website. Excerpt:
The next time avian influenza is detected in British Columbia, the provincial agriculture ministry hopes to halt the virus in its tracks by euthanizing all birds on the first-affected farm within 48 hours.
A December 2014 outbreak of a deadly form of the disease saw 200,000 birds killed at 11 different farms. The reaction to the outbreak was deemed a success, with another strain of the contagious virus killing millions of birds in the United States.
But officials say the response can get better – especially when it comes to efforts to contain the virus to the locations first affected. During the outbreak, it took as many as five days for the birds to be destroyed in the first two farms impacted.
To speed up the process, the province has purchased its own equipment to use CO2 to kill large numbers of affected birds. Previously, it had relied on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to lead that process. And last week, the province, along with the CFIA, held a four-day training exercise at an Abbotsford poultry farm to practise the rapid response to an outbreak.
Dr. Jane Pritchard, the province’s chief veterinary officer, said Wednesday that time is of the essence after avian influenza is first detected. She said the longer the infected birds continue to live, the higher virus levels get, increasing the chance that it will spread.
“Every bird that’s infected is constantly producing more and more virus,” Pritchard said. “As soon as you kill them, they stop producing the virus.”
Quick euthanization is also needed to halt the suffering of the birds, Pritchard said, with those dying from the virus during last year’s outbreak doing so in “such agony.” Pre-empting those deaths with euthanization – in which the CO2 renders birds unconscious before it kills them – is much more humane, she said.