Movement Controls In Place For Avian Influenza

Agriculture Victoria has confirmed that the H7N3 high pathogenic strain of avian influenza virus is the cause of a number of poultry deaths at an egg farm near Meredith.

Movement controls are now in place to prevent any spread of the virus while the property is quarantined, all poultry are safely disposed of, and the site is cleared of the infection. Contact tracing is also underway to determine the source and spread of the infection.

This includes a Restricted Area covering a five-kilometre radius around the infected premises and a broader Control Area buffer zone covering an area of 20 kilometres.

This restricts the movement of poultry, poultry products, equipment and vehicles on or off properties in these areas. Penalties apply for those who do not follow these restrictions.

Victoria’s Chief Veterinarian Graeme Cooke said Agriculture Victoria staff are on-the-ground to support the business and working closely with industry to contain and eradicate the virus.

‘Avian influenza is a viral disease of birds found globally,’ he said.

‘The strain of the virus detected near Meredith is H7N3, which is different from the H5N1 avian influenza strain that’s impacting the USA and other parts of the world. H5N1 has not been detected in birds in Australia.

‘While cases among humans in direct contact with animals infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses are possible, the current risk to the public remains low.

‘Consumers should not be concerned about eggs and poultry products from the supermarkets, they do not pose a risk and are safe to consume.’

All poultry and bird owners across Victoria are reminded to follow best biosecurity practice such keeping poultry sheds, yards, aviaries and equipment clean, and restricting contact between your poultry and wild birds.

Bird owners should also ensure their footwear is clean, always wash hands before and after handling birds or eggs and quarantine new birds before integrating with existing ones.

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