In December, an outbreak of H5N2 strain of avian influenza was found in British Columbia, Canada, according to Stephen Nattrass, an attorney at Norton Rose Fullbright LLP, an international law firm. To date, eight chicken and turkey farms have been affected, and more than 140,000 turkeys and chickens are to be euthanized. The outbreak marks the fourth of such kind at Canadian farms. The scale to date is smaller when compared to 2004, when 17 million chickens and other birds were ordered to be slaughtered at 42 farms.
The United States, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, China, South Africa, and Mexico have instituted bans of poultry products from either B.C. or all of Canada. About six or seven percent of poultry products in Canada are exported and of these, half go to three countries, namely, the United States, Taiwan, and the Philippines. The Philippines has not instituted a ban.
While the risk to the consumer is low if the meat is properly handled and cooked, it can be transmitted to people who work in close contact with the animals.