Bird flu outbreak in Victoria as a second egg farm records positive cases while all free-range farms are ordered to house their flocks indoors for 30 days
- Two farms in Lethbridge and Bairnsdale have recorded cases of avian influenza
- Both farms are in quarantine, with farms close to them told to keep birds inside
- The Victorian DHHS said the two outbreaks were not a risk for the community
Two free range egg farms in Victoria have recorded positive cases of bird flu, plunging both properties into quarantine.
Farms in Lethbridge and Bairnsdale have recorded positive tests of avian influenza in the past two weeks.
Birds, equipment and products cannot be removed from either farm unless authorised by Agriculture Victoria, with both farms and others close to the effected farms told to keep all their birds indoors for 30 days.
The Lethbridge farm tested positive to the H7N7 starin, which highly pathogenic and infected more than 21,000 birds in one of the sheds on the farm.
Two free range poultry farms in Lethbridge and Bairnsdale in Victoria have recorded cases of avian influenza (stock image)
Infected birds on the property have been destroyed, with the strain known to have a high death rate among poultry.
The H7N7 outbreak is only the eighth time in 44 years an Australian poultry farm has confirmed cases of a highly pathogenic bird flu.
HUMAN BIRD FLU SYMPTOMS:
Fever (over 100.4°F or 38°C)
The Bairnsdale farm has birds infected with the H5N2 strain, which effects chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, guinea fowl, quail, pheasants and ostriches.
Birds suffering from avian influenza experience symptoms including sudden death, difficulty breathing, swelling, diarrhoea and a drop in egg production, eating and drinking.
Associate professor of veterinary epidemiology and public health from the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation at Charles Sturt University Marta Hernandez-Jover said the disease was likely to be carried into free range farms by wild birds.
‘Free-range production poses a higher risk because it is more likely that the virus can be introduced from wild waterfowl to domestic poultry in these types of properties when compared to conventional indoor poultry raising,’ she told ABC.
The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services released a warning after the two outbreaks, though they claim the disease is not a risk for the community.
‘On rare occasions, this strain of avian influenza has been known to infect and cause disease in humans who have had close contact with infected poultry,’ the warning reads.
All people working at the infected properties during the outbreak will wear personal protective equipment to prevent contracting the disease. Pictured: medical staff in PPE at Flemington Public housing flats on July 5
‘Most people have only mild disease. Spread from humans to humans has been documented mostly in close contacts of confirmed cases.
‘Only people who come into close contact with infected birds or their secretions, or are close contacts of confirmed cases, are considered at risk.’
All staff and biosecurity officers working at the infected properties will be made to wear personal protective equipment to prevent the chance on contracting the disease.
The warning noted that eating properly cooked poultry products such as chicken or eggs would not lead to a bird flu infection.
Anyone who has come into contact with infected birds and experiences cold and flu symptoms has been urged to seek medical advice.
Both infected farms are in quarantine, with other farms close to them told to keep all their birds inside for 30 days as a precaution (stock image)