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February 20, 2004

CANADA: Bird flu outbreak discovered in Canada

Canadian officials have said an outbreak of bird flu has been discovered in British Colombia, prompting Japan to ban imports of Canadian poultry.

Canadian officials have said an outbreak of bird flu has been discovered in British Colombia, prompting Japan to ban imports of Canadian poultry.

Canadian health officials are testing samples of the virus to assess exactly which strain of bird flu it is. Canadian health minister Pierre Pettigrew said the H-7 virus, the same type as was found in the US recently, had been contained on the British Colombia farm, and that it appeared to be an isolated incident, reported the Associated Press.

The H-7 type of bid flu is not believed to be transmissible to humans and is therefore less dangerous than the H5N1 strain that has killed more than 20 people in Asia.

Japan’s ban on Canadian poultry imports is unlikely to be a major disruption. Canada exported 67 metric tons of chicken and chicken products to Japan in fiscal 2002, accounting for less than 1% of Japan’s poultry imports, the Associated Press said.

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