"There is no evidence to suggest that we are dealing with the H5N1 strain currently in Asia and other countries," the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said in an update yesterday. "That virus is marked by very high mortality in birds, which was not observed in this particular situation."
If the virus had been the deadly strain of H5N1, it would have been its first appearance in North America. But mild H5 viruses have been found in Canadian poultry before, Canadian officials said. About 58,000 poultry were culled near Chilliwack, British Columbia, last November to stop an outbreak of a low-pathogenic H5 virus.
The CFIA destroyed the Prince Edward Island flock of 35 to 40 ducks, geese, and chickens last Friday. In addition, the CFIA said it had quarantined a farm next to the affected one and was testing the birds there.
A CFIA veterinarian suggested that the four dead birds on the affected farm might have died of something other than avian flu.
In Hungary, officials have begun culling poultry following the recent confirmation of the country's first H5N1 outbreak in domestic birds, according to an online report today by the weekly newspaper The Budapest Times. The country reported H5N1 cases in wild swans in February.
The Budapest Times said the virus was found on several farms. "Authorities said all poultry within one kilometer of the outbreaks must be destroyed, meaning about half a million birds," the story said.
The deadly strain of H5N1 has affected poultry in 34 countries since late 2003, according to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Vietnam OIE led the list with 2,313 outbreaks, followed by Thailand (1,078), Indonesia (211), Turkey (176), Romania (168), Russia (121), China (80), Nigeria (69), Ukraine (23), Korea (19), and Cambodia (16).