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Bird flu detected in southern NSW egg farm

H7 Avian Influenza has been confirmed in a flock of 400,000 layer hens near Young, NSW Chief Veterinary Officer Ian Roth said today.

Mr Roth said the results were confirmed by the NSW Department of Primary Industries' (DPI) State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratories at the Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute and CSIRO's Australian Animal Health Laboratory.

"The results confirm that this virus is the H7 Avian Influenza strain, NOT the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain that has gained worldwide attention," he said.

"The property has been quarantined and DPI's First Response Team has been activated to oversee the response and work with the property owners and the egg industry.

"The remaining birds on the property will now be culled in-line with national agreements.

"Control restrictions are now in place within a 10km radius of the quarantined egg farm and extensive surveillance and tracing is now underway to ensure the virus does not spread."

The NSW Food Authority has confirmed there are no food safety issues and poultry and eggs remain safe to eat.

NSW Food Authority Chief Scientist, Lisa Szabo, said there was no evidence eating food from farms affected by avian influenza had ever caused human illness.

Mr Roth said Australia has previously had a small number of outbreaks of H7 Avian Influenza viruses, which were all quickly and successfully eradicated.

"Late last year, the DPI and Livestock Health and Pest Authority (LHPA) successfully eradicated an outbreak of H7 Avian Influenza at an egg farm near Maitland," Mr Roth said.

People who notice sick or dead birds should contact their local veterinarian or call the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline 1800 675 888.

For further information on avian influenza visit www.dpi.nsw.gov.au.

Topics:  animal health biosecurity bird flu


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