Bird flu detected at eighth Victorian farm

Kaitlyn Offer
AAP
More than one million birds will be destroyed in Victoria because of the bird flu outbreak. (Cathy Parker/AAP PHOTOS)
More than one million birds will be destroyed in Victoria because of the bird flu outbreak. (Cathy Parker/AAP PHOTOS) Credit: AAP

Bird flu has been confirmed at an eighth Victorian farm, with chickens at the property to be euthanised.

Tests have confirmed the highly pathogenic H7N3 strain at the small commercial egg farm, which was already in quarantine and in the Golden Plains Shire where movement restrictions were already in place.

Chief Veterinary Officer Graeme Cooke said the detection was not unexpected.

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“In fact (it) shows that risk-based restricted and control areas are reasonable and that our surveillance measures are working as we want them to,” he said.

“Agriculture Victoria’s comprehensive and ongoing surveillance activities are finding the infections and containing them.”

Movement restrictions are expected to stay in place for several more weeks.

Ten farms in Australia are now confirmed to have the virus.

It was found at a second NSW poultry farm over the weekend, however the property is inside a biosecurity zone that was set up in the Hawkesbury district after an initial detection on Wednesday.

More than one million birds will be destroyed in Victoria because of the outbreak and so far NSW’s toll will be more than 320,000.

In Victoria, seven of the infected properties are confirmed to have the H7N3 strain of avian influenza and one infected property near Terang has the H7N9 strain.

The H7N8 strain has infected the NSW farms.

None are the H5N1 strain that has infected billions of wild and farmed animals globally, raising fears of human transmission.

The World Health Organization revealed on June 5 a two-year-old girl in Melbourne who had recently travelled from India had to be put in intensive care in March after falling sick with the H5N1 strain.

The case was confirmed by local health authorities in May.

While it was possible for humans to contract avian influenza viruses when in direct contact with infected animals, Agriculture Victoria said the risk to the public was extremely low.

Coles has placed purchase limits on eggs following the outbreaks, but the other major supermarket chains are yet to follow suit.

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