First coronavirus now THIS: Bird flu hits Australia as egg farm confirms cases of highly contagious disease
- Birds on farm near Lethbridge have tested positive for H7N7 avian influenza virus
- Birds found to have contracted the disease are killed to stop the spread
- Farm is placed in quarantine as farmers and biosecurity monitor the situation
A free-range egg farm in Victoria has been hit with bird flu.
Birds on the farm near Lethbridge have tested positive for H7N7 avian influenza virus.
Fowl found to have contracted the virus are being destroyed to stop the spread of the disease.
H7N7 is spread from one sick bird to another and mainly affects chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, guinea fowl, quail, pheasants, ostriches and wild birds.
H7N7 is spread from one sick bird to another and mainly affects chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, guinea fowl, quail, pheasants, ostriches and wild birds (stock)
It can also be passed from animal-to-person and person-to-person if there is direct contact.
Symptoms start off like the common flu such as cough, fever, sore throat, muscle aches, headache and shortness of breath.
Victoria’s Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Graeme Cooke said a 5km radius protection zone had been placed around the farm and it is in quarantine.
Workers and bio-security officers are managing the situation, he added.
‘These controls prohibit the movement of birds, related equipment and products within and out of the designated control area of Golden Plains Shire unless a permit for movement has been granted by Agriculture Victoria until further notice,’ he told Geelong Advertiser.
‘Agriculture Victoria is conducting surveillance throughout the restricted area buffer zone to determine whether the virus is contained to the property or whether it may be active in other areas.’
There is currently no risk to any food supplied by the farm.
Farmers are being urged to report any suspicious and unexplained bird deaths to the 24-hour Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888, or to their local vet or to Agriculture Victoria animal health staff.
There is currently no risk to any food supplied by the farm (stock)
What is the bird flu?
Avian influenza (AI) or ‘bird flu’ is a highly contagious viral disease affecting several species (mainly birds).
It is a zoonotic disease which can infect humans in rare cases, usually through contact with infected poultry.
AI virus strains are usually classified into two categories according to the severity of disease in poultry:
- Highly pathogenic (HPAI) strains, which can cause severe clinical signs and potentially high mortality rates among poultry.
- Low pathogenic (LPAI) strains, which typically cause few or no clinical signs in poultry and may go undetected due to the lack of symptoms in some species of birds. LPAI can result in some mortality.
AI virus is carried by wild birds, particularly waterfowl and shorebirds, around the world; for the most part without causing any apparent clinical disease. Occasionally, when exposure to wild birds occurs, AI can infect domestic birds and spread rapidly.
Many species of wild birds, including waterfowl and seabirds, can carry the virus but usually show no signs of disease.
Infection of humans occurs rarely, usually through contact with infected poultry.
People are not infected by eating chicken meat or eggs, or by contact with other infected people.
Source: Agriculture Victoria