A new worm farm near the border between Canada and the United States has emerged in recent months, bringing in thousands of infected fish, causing an increase in infections of people and even people who have not been exposed to the worm, according to the Canadian and US governments.
CBC News has learned the farm has been operating for nearly two years in a remote area in southwestern Ontario and is believed to be the largest such farm in the world.
CBC has learned it is not being monitored by the US government.
It is not known if the farm is infected with the new strain of the disease, which is thought to have emerged from infected fish or water.
In its most recent inspection, the US Department of Agriculture and Food Safety (USDAFS) in December found the farm had been operating without a valid licence.
The farm has also been known to transport large numbers of fish, including live fish.
The USDAFS said the farm’s current operation is not “consistent with safe management practices.”
The USDA, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), the US Food and Drug Administration and the Ontario Provincial Police all confirmed the farm was not licensed, and said it was not cooperating with their inspections.
A spokesperson for the Canadian government said the USDA was aware of the incident and was working with the US authorities.
The Department of Health in Canada said it had notified the province of the issue.
The FDA and the Canada Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Canadian Food Inspection Service said it has issued a food safety warning to people who are in close contact with infected fish and those who have consumed contaminated food.
In a statement, the CFIA said it “has received numerous reports of fish being consumed in the United State and that the CFIC has been in contact with the United Kingdom authorities regarding these reports.”
Canadian officials are trying to determine how the farm may have been involved in the spread of the new disease.
In the US, officials are monitoring the situation closely and are urging the public to stay away from the farm.
CBC’s Andrew Walker, Laura O’Donoghue and Robert Peston contributed to this report.