Avian Influenza Update

20 June 2024

Please find below the latest information regarding the avian influenza incident in Victoria.

  • Avian influenza virus has been confirmed at a seventh Victorian farm, which was already in quarantine.
  • Tests have confirmed the high pathogenicity H7N3 strain at a commercial egg farm which is located within the current Restricted Area in the Golden Plains Shire, where movement restrictions area already in place.
  • All poultry at the property will be humanely destroyed and disposed of consistent with national policies and the site will be cleaned and decontaminated.
  • Existing movement controls remain in place in designated areas near Terang, Meredith and Lethbridge. This includes: 
  • a Restricted Area that covers the impacted Meredith and Lethbridge properties and a Control Area buffer zone, which is bound by Bacchus Marsh Road in the east and the Colac–Ballarat Road on the western boundary.
  • a Restricted Area covering a 5 km radius around the Terang farm with a broader Control Area buffer zone covering a 15 km radius.
  • a housing requirement for all birds within these areas.
  • Within the Restricted and Control areas, permits are required for the movement of birds, poultry products, feed and equipment on or off properties.

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Also announced, Avian influenza has been detected at commercial poultry farm in the Greater Sydney Basin on June 19, 2024. 

  • Importantly the HPAI H7N8 strain detected in NSW is not the same as the H5N1 strain that is causing concern globally and is not connected to the Victorian outbreak.
  • The impacted property is under quarantine, and NSW DPI is working closely with the impacted property using well-established national response arrangements to manage the outbreak.
  • HPAI has been eradicated from NSW three times before, the most recent being in Young in 2013.

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Livestock producers are reminded to report any sick or dead birds as a priority to the 24 hour Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888.

Key facts:

  • Avian influenza is a serious disease of poultry and occurs worldwide.
  • Avian influenza virus strains are usually classified into two categories according to the severity of disease in poultry:
  • High pathogenicity strains can cause severe clinical signs and potentially high death rates among poultry.
  • Low pathogenicity strains typically cause fewer or reduced clinical signs in comparison.
  • Chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, guinea fowl, quail, pheasants, emus, and ostriches are susceptible to avian influenza. Many species of wild birds, including waterfowl and seabirds, can carry the virus.
  • The virus is mostly spread by wild birds, particularly ducks, contaminating food or water supplies. For this reason, the disease remains a constant biosecurity threat.
  • Avian influenza can also be spread by the movement of eggs, birds, people, vehicles, and equipment between farms, and by clothing, footwear, aerosols, water, feed, litter, biting insects and vermin.
  • Eggs and chicken meat are safe to eat provided they are handled and cooked according to standard food handling practices.
  • You can also stay up to date on the AHA website.