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Published December 01, 2010, 09:24 AM

Canadian Food Inspection Agency destroys 8,200 turkeys on Manitoba farm

WINNIPEG — The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says all 8,200 birds at a commercial turkey farm in the Rural Municipality of Rockwood have been destroyed after an outbreak of avian influenza.

WINNIPEG — The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says all 8,200 birds at a commercial turkey farm in the Rural Municipality of Rockwood have been destroyed after an outbreak of avian influenza.

The agency says on its website that animal welfare experts were on hand to oversee the euthanization of the birds.

It says the carcases will be disposed according to environmental regulations and internationally accepted disease-control guidelines.

Once that’s done, the agency will oversee the cleaning and disinfecting of barns, vehicles, equipment and tools so that any remaining infectious material is eliminated.

Two poultry farms that had contact with the infected farm remain under precautionary quarantine and are being closely monitored for signs of illness.

Health officials had said the strain of avian flu found on the farm was a low-risk, low-severity form of H5N2.

That strain is far different from the Asian strain of H5N1 that has decimated flocks and killed dozens of people in Europe and Asia over the last several years.

H5N2 is common in wild birds such as ducks and geese, and has been found before in turkeys, including a 2009 outbreak in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley that resulted in thousands of birds being destroyed.

The strain found north of Winnipeg is more mild than the one in B.C., officials said.

Dr. Joel Kettner, Manitoba’s chief public health officer, said the strain posed little threat to humans and it’s OK for the public to continue eating turkey.

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