The governments of Canada and British Columbia are investing CA$300,000 (US$215,100) to strengthen the surveillance, early detection, and response measures to avian influenza.
The funding will be used to enhance the resources at the Canadian Ministry of Agriculture's Animal Health Centre in Abbotsford with specialized equipment to diagnose samples collected in the ministry's avian influenza surveillance efforts.
Ministry of Agriculture staff began a pilot surveillance project that collected sediment samples at ponds and wetlands used by wild waterfowl following the December 2014 avian flu outbreak in the Fraser Valley. A research group has worked at developing cutting edge technological advances to be able to test the samples collected from the pilot project for the presence of avian flu strains. Funds will be used to transfer this new technology to the Animal Health Centre. As the pilot project evolves into ongoing surveillance, the ability to diagnose the samples quickly at the Animal Health Centre will greatly enhance early detection efforts.
The Ministry of Agriculture will also be targeting owners of small poultry flocks by hosting workshops in different regions focusing on poultry health, and the sharing of information and resources such as the Small Flock Poultry Health Manual.
In addition, funding is being provided to support a rapid response to any future outbreaks by having mobile equipment to help any infected poultry premises with the humane depopulation of infected bird populations within the province at all times and to train more responders in its use.
The money is provided through the Biosecurity and Surveillance Program under Growing Forward 2, a five-year agreement launched in 2013 that provides a CA$3-billion, federal-provincial-territorial government investment in innovation, competitiveness and market development.