Different strain of bird flu found on Victorian emu farm

Farm with 37,000 birds confirmed the latest property with bird flu

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NEW CASES: Six Victorian farmers have now been affected by avian influenza, also known as bird flu.

NEW CASES: Six Victorian farmers have now been affected by avian influenza, also known as bird flu.

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New cases of avian influenza detected in Victoria.

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An egg farm with 37,000 birds in the Golden Plains Shire and an emu farm near Kerang have been confirmed as the latest properties with cases of avian influenza.

Victoria's chief veterinary officer Dr Graeme Cooke said the government was working quickly to contain the outbreaks.

"The Golden Plains egg farm has been placed under quarantine after being confirmed as having high pathogenic H7N7 avian influenza," Dr Cooke said.

"It has about 37,000 birds on site within the existing restricted area."

The two detections bring the total number of affected farms to six since the first case on July 31.

Dr Cooke said Agriculture Victoria had been undertaking regular surveillance at the property as part of its response to avian influenza, which allowed for the rapid identification and containment of the disease.

He said veterinarians would now undertake appropriate actions to "depopulate and decontaminate" the site.

Low strain of virus found at Kerang Emu farm

The emu farm near Kerang reported sick birds to Agriculture Victoria and subsequent testing has confirmed low pathogenic H7N6 avian influenza.

Dr Cooke said it was a different strain of avian influenza than what was detected on poultry farms in Golden Plains Shire, and is not linked to previous cases of avian influenza.

The property has about 8000 farmed emus and is under quarantine.

A restricted area of two kilometres and a control area five kilometres is now in place around the farm.

"Thank you to the property owners who notified us quickly when they noticed sick birds," Dr Cooke said.

"Avian influenza viruses occur naturally among wild birds and can be difficult to detect as they may not show signs but can cause infections in our domestic bird populations."

"These detections are a reminder for bird owners to be vigilant: follow restrictions and movement controls for Restricted and Control Areas, monitor your birds' health, and have in place best biosecurity practices at your property."

Three farms in the Golden Plains Shire have are now confirmed to have high pathogenic H7N7 avian influenza in their birds, and another near Bairnsdale confirmed to have lo low pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza.

Public urged to report sick, dead birds

The highly-contagious disease predominantly affects chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, guinea fowl, quail, pheasants and ostriches.

Many species of wild birds, including waterfowl and seabirds, can also carry the virus without symptoms, but occasionally it spills over into domestic poultry populations causing significant amounts of death.

People are encouraged to report sick or dead birds, especially in the Golden Plains Shire, Kerang or near Bairnsdale, to the 24-hour Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.

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