Second Australian state reports confirmed case of bird flu

by IANS |

Sydney, June 19 (IANS) Testing results confirmed on Wednesday that the highly contagious bird flu, also known as avian influenza, was detected at a poultry farm in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW).


The confirmation came only days after a sixth farm in Victoria recently tested positive for the H7N3 strain, Xinhua news agency reported.


Tara Moriarty, NSW Minister for Agriculture, said in a statement that the state government enacted its emergency biosecurity incident plan to address the detection of the high pathogenicity avian influenza (HPAI).


According to the statement, the HPAI detected is the H7N8 type, which is not the same strain as the current Victorian outbreak. It is believed at the current stage to be a separate spill-over event potentially from wild birds.


As the high pathogenic diseases can spread quickly and lead to a high mortality rate amongst poultry birds, the farm is now under an immediate lockdown, and the NSW government also commenced its emergency animal disease response.


"NSW consumers should not be concerned about eggs and poultry products from the supermarkets," said Moriarty.


"This detection does not pose a risk to consumer health, and the products are safe to consume if they are handled and cooked as per standard food handling practices," the minister added.


Due to the spread of bird flu, Australia's major supermarket chain Coles has put a cap on the purchase of eggs since last week.


Signs were seen on Wednesday in one of the Coles stores in Sydney saying that due to a shortage of supply eggs, the supermarket has introduced a temporary limit of two items per customer or transaction.

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