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Avian influenza alert in Australia

In New South Wales, Australia an outbreak of Avian Influenza has been confirmed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Canverra.

Australia’s first outbreak of a highly pathogenic bird flu virus in 15 years should be contained by a cull of 50,000 chickens, authorities said on Friday, although they don’t know what caused the case at an egg farm in New South Wales state.

The H7 strain is highly pathogenic to birds but is not related to the H5N1 strain, which was first detected in 1997 in Hong Kong and has since killed 366 people worldwide.

The affected birds are free range layer hens. The property has several dams that attract wild ducks. A Restricted Area of 3 km diameter surrounded by 7 km diameter Control Area has been established around the property, which is under quarantine restriction. Tracing is underway. Depopulation has commenced. The N type has not yet been determined.

The department’s chief veterinary officer, Ian Roth, said the strain did not present any risks to food safety from poultry and eggs. “It generally spreads by the movement of birds from the farm and there certainly hasn’t been any of those,” Roth told Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio.

“We’re in the process now of doing the tracing and also surveillance in the area, and so far the tracing looks quite good. There hasn’t been much potential for spread,” he said.

Full report can be found here.

World Poultry

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