Canada: New lab to test for bird flu

12-12-2008 | |

A new lab in Canada will open at the beginning of 2009 that can test for diseases such as avian flu.

According to Agriculture Minister Stan Hagen, this is the only such facility in Canada that’s associated with a provincial veterinary lab to diagnose diseases that can transfer from animals to humans.

“[The lab] ensures we are fully prepared to identify and respond to incidents of animal disease faster and more efficiently. This proactive step benefits animals, industry and the public,” said Hagen.

The lab’s advanced testing means fewer samples will need to be sent to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s lab in Winnipeg.

The new $14-million testing facility is an addition to the existing Animal Health Centre in Abbotsford, B.C., the hub of the Fraser Valley agricultural area, and will provide more protection for lab workers from diseases that may infect people as well as animals, Hagen said.

Natalie Berkhout Freelance journalist