Bird flu Victoria: Fourth poultry farm detects avian influenza

According to agricultural authorities, bird flu has been detected on a fourth poultry farm in the state of Victoria.

Agriculture Victoria confirmed that the highly pathogenic H7N3 strain of avian influenza was discovered on Wednesday on a property in the Golden Plains Shire in the central-western part of the state.

A spokesman confirmed that it was within the current 5 km wide exclusion zone.

The farm has been quarantined and Agriculture Victoria staff are working to further contain the spread.

“All poultry will be safely disposed of under veterinary supervision and in line with national guidelines and sites will be cleaned and cleared of infection,” Agriculture Victoria said in a statement.

The highly contagious flu had previously been detected on three farms near Meredith and one near Terang – all with high pathogenicity of two strains of the virus.

Victoria’s chief veterinary officer Graeme Cooke said the new discovery was not unexpected.

“Avian influenza is a viral disease of birds that occurs worldwide. Many species of wild birds, including waterfowl and seabirds, can carry the virus but do not usually show symptoms of illness,” said Dr Cooke.

“We remind bird owners that housing birds, where practical, is an effective way to minimise direct contact with wild birds.”

Avian influenza is a highly contagious viral infection in birds that can cause severe symptoms and even death in poultry.

However, the authorities believe that consumers should not have concerns about eggs and poultry products in the supermarket as they do not pose a threat to human safety and can be consumed safely.

There are mild flu viruses that cause little or no symptoms and can go undetected, while other mild flu viruses can develop into severe forms.

The current outbreaks have led to the buildings where the virus was detected being quarantined and exclusion zones being set up.

The authorities have also made it mandatory to house all birds in these areas.

This means that all poultry farmers, hobbyists and bird keepers are obliged to house or keep their birds in closed cages or stables as far as possible.

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