Avian influenza detected at fifth poultry property

7 June 2024

Avian influenza virus has been confirmed at a fifth Victorian poultry farm, which is now in quarantine.

Tests have confirmed the high pathogenicity H7N3 strain at this property which is located within the current Restricted Area in the Golden Plains Shire, where movement restrictions were already in place.

All poultry at the property will be safely disposed of under veterinary supervision, consistent with national policies and the site will be cleaned and cleared of the infection.

Victoria’s Chief Veterinary Officer Graeme Cooke said this detection is not unexpected.

'It’s why our reasonable and risk-based Restricted and Control Areas are in place and shows that Agriculture Victoria’s comprehensive and ongoing surveillance activities are working well to date,’ Dr Cooke said.

‘Agriculture Victoria continues to work with affected producers and the wider industry to support business continuity while minimising risk of disease spread. It’s a difficult time for our farmers and we’re making sure mental health support is available and eligible producers can access compensation.’

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.

‘All bird owners across Victoria are reminded to follow best biosecurity practice such as keeping poultry sheds, yards, aviaries and equipment clean. Housing birds by keeping them in cages or sheds is an effective method of minimising direct contact between your poultry and wild birds’, said Dr Cooke.

Eggs and poultry products from supermarkets do not pose a risk and are safe to consume. Victoria has a secure supply chain including the importation of eggs from interstate so the current outbreak has not significantly affected supplies.

Poultry farmers, backyard flock and bird owners are urged to report any cases of unexplained bird deaths to the VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226.

More information, including movement permits, compensation details and mental health resources, are available online at agriculture.vic.gov.au/avianinfluenza.

Media contact: SBOC.PublicInformation@agriculture.vic.gov.au