The Department Of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) reports that bird flu has been detected at two Victorian duck farms.
However, the virus found is a low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) and not the deadlier form of the virus that spread through Asia, led to mass culling of poultry and was threatening to humans.
All the same, it is expected that more than 10,000 ducks will have to be destroyed to contain this Victorian outbreak.
A statement released by DAFF’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Mark Schipp pointed out that it is not unusual for low pathogenic avian influenza to be found in Australian wild birds.
Australian bird farms are routinely tested for avian flu and this Victorian outbreak was uncovered during one of those tests. This strain of the virus isn’t expected to cause any further harm to birds and is harmless to humans.
Dr Schipp stated that, “While the ongoing management and surveillance rests with Victoria, the Australian Government is providing veterinary and biosecurity expertise via forums such as the Consultative Committee on Emergency Animal Diseases (CCEAD).”
He added, “DAFF will continue to assist Victoria’s Department of Primary Industries, as required, and advise on the application of nationally agreed control standards (AUSTVETPLAN).”
Photo: a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from Laurel Fan's Flickr photo stream