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Highly pathogenic H7 bird flu found on fourth poultry farm in Australia

A highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza has been found on a fourth poultry farm near Melbourne near two other properties where the virus had already been detected, the government of Australia’s Victoria state said on Wednesday.

“Avian influenza virus has been confirmed at a fourth Victorian poultry farm,” the government said in a statement.

The H7N3 strain of the virus has been detected at the farm, it said, which is not the same as the H5N1 strain that has spread globally through bird and mammal populations and even into humans.

H7N3 has now been found at three farms near the town of Meredith and an H7N9 strain has infected another farm near Terang, an hour and half’s drive east.

The state government said all the poultry at the farms would be killed and disposed of. That adds up to hundreds of thousands of birds, a small fraction of Australia’s total.

Affected farms have been placed in quarantine with curbs on movement in surrounding areas. Local bird owners must keep their birds enclosed to minimise contact with wild birds that could spread the virus.

Before the latest bird flu cases, Australia has seen nine outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza since 1976, all of which were contained and eradicated, according to the government.

Officials say there is no risk to the public from eating eggs and poultry meat.

(Reuters)

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Last Updated: 22nd Jun 2024