Bird flu hits Young hens

15 Oct, 2013 02:43 PM

AVIAN influenza (H7) has been confirmed in a flock of 400,000 layer hens near Young, NSW chief veterinary officer Ian Roth confirmed late on Tuesday afternoon.

Avian influenza in birds does not easily cause disease in humans, according to the Department of Agriculture.

“The results confirm that this virus is the H7 avian influenza strain, NOT the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain that has gained worldwide attention,” Mr Roth said.

  • Biosecurity guidleines for bird owners, poultry farmers and egg producers

    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.

    There have been over 340 human deaths from H5N1 avian influenza in the world - which has never been reported in Australia - since the virus first emerged in 2003.

    There have been five outbreaks of other highly pathogenic avian influenza strains in commercial bird flocks in Australia, all of which were successfully eradicated. The last reported case was in 1997 in Tamworth, NSW. Previous outbreaks occurred in commercial poultry farms in Victoria (1976, 1985 and 1992) and Queensland (1994).

    “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," Mr Roth said.

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

    “Control restrictions are now in place within a 10 kilometre 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 that there are no food safety issues and that poultry and eggs remain safe to eat.

    "There is no evidence that eating food from farms that have been affected by avian influenza have ever caused human illness," NSW Food Authority chief scientist Lisa Szabo said.

  • Transmission to humans occurs predominantly through handling live or dead infected birds or very close contact with them and their excretions.

    People do not get infected with avian influenza through eating properly cooked chicken meat and eggs, the Department stated.

    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 Biosecurity guidleines for bird owners, poultry farmers and egg producers are available here.

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    15/10/2013 4:49:07 PM

    This is a terrible blow to a family who have done a tremendous amount of work in the egg industry. Perhaps Jamie Oliver will chip in a contribution towards their massive costs? Or at least drop in to help with the culling? This is the side of free range that is so harmful to both producers and the birds. How can you prevent outbreaks when your chickens are roaming outside with wild birds that could be carrying anything? It's a shame that the public aren't given both sides of the story. They won't cover this up though.
    16/10/2013 12:43:15 PM

    Where in this story does it say that the birds were from a 'free range' farm, apart from the picture which suggests it. 400,000 birds seems quite a large number to be freely ranging? Just curious.
    16/10/2013 1:00:37 PM

    an outside chance the subs have used a generic chooky shot maybe Hebe? no caption...
    Penny Thehen
    16/10/2013 5:20:51 PM

    400,000 hens sounds like factory farming not free range - if it were genuine free range and not intensive farming the result would be far smaller - yes there were cage and high density free range hens on this farm - Very sorry to both the humans and hens - it is devastating and unfortunate
    Jen from the bush
    16/10/2013 6:38:37 PM

    It doesn't Hebe but ABC rural does report it and states first outbreak in the free range side of their business and then it spread to the caged hens and they suppose it has already spread over the boundary. Wild duck fly everywhere and shed these diseases and if you aren't aware love chookfeed. They fly in at night or day and help themselves
    18/10/2013 6:26:59 PM

    Regardless of density, it's the "free" in free range that results in exposure to disease from wild birds. And consumers won't be able to buy free range in thousands of supermarkets around Australia unless the eggs are produced in commercial (or what you disdainfully call "factory farming") quantities. Or is free range a choice that only a few people should have access to so they can stand on some self-determined moral high ground? Intensive farming is the only way to feed our intensively populated cities. Even people who live in cities deserve a chance to eat eggs.
    farmer,s friend
    24/10/2013 5:14:26 PM

    What a pity the 'do-gooders' who want everything 'free-range',don't have enough common sense to realise that 'free-rang' has so many risks. Predators,foxes,dogs,cats,etcDise ase carrying birds,ducks. Creepy 'do-gooders' who illegally trespass onto property s in the middle of the night,disturbing animals till they are distressed,then take photos to discredit farmers. Pop's ancestors were farmers for generations in England & Australia.Pop taught us that, happy,healthy,well cared for animals,will always give the best return.Avian Flu shows hens are safer confined,than free range.
    hebe s
    4/12/2013 9:31:50 AM

    Is there another hebe out there,I have rung health depts,csiro etc in regard to sick chickens,and havent written any comments before ,but would like to know who might be using my name.


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