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22/05/24 | 10:47 am

Australia detects H7 bird flu at egg farm

A highly pathogenic bird flu has been detected on an egg farm near Melbourne but it is not the same strain that has swept the globe and infected dairy cows in the United States, Australian authorities said on Wednesday.

The egg farm where the outbreak occurred has been put into quarantine after a number of poultry died, the agriculture ministry of the state of Victoria said.

First laboratory tests show the virus as yet unidentified H7 strain that likely came from the wild bird population and has been seen in Australia before, Victoria’s Chief Veterinary Officer Graeme Cooke said.

He said restrictions on movement had been imposed in the area around the farm and the birds would be destroyed.

“This area does have a high density of poultry businesses, both egg laying and poultry meat,” he told Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) radio.

“At this stage we can’t say whether there’ll be any onward spread to other properties. We are now taking measures necessary to stamp it out to remove any onward spread.”

He said the outbreak presented no risk to human health.

Australia has suffered nine episodes of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) since 1976, the most recent of which involved the spread of an H7N7 strain in Victoria in 2020. Each was quickly contained and eradicated, according to the government.

Australia is the only continent that has so far remained free of the H5N1 avian influenza virus that has spread globally in recent months, killing hundreds of millions of poultry and causing turmoil in food supply chains.

The H5N1 strain has also killed huge numbers of wild birds and spread to tens of mammal species, raising fears of human transmission.

(Reuters)

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Last Updated: 14th Jun 2024