Detection of avian influenza at Meredith farm

22 May 2024

Agriculture Victoria is investigating a number of poultry deaths at an egg farm near Meredith.

Preliminary tests have confirmed the presence of the avian influenza virus. Samples have been delivered to the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness at Geelong for further tests which will determine the type and nature of the disease.

The property has been placed into quarantine and Agriculture Victoria staff are on-the-ground to support the business and investigate further.

Avian influenza is a viral disease of birds found globally. Virus strains are described as low pathogenicity (LPAI) or high pathogenicity (HPAI).

While cases among humans in direct contact with animals infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses are possible, the current risk to the public remains low.

Every producer should have an on-farm biosecurity plan and know the signs of diseases that could affect their animals.

All poultry and bird owners across Victoria are reminded to follow best biosecurity practices such keeping poultry sheds, yards, aviaries and equipment clean, and restricting contact between your poultry and wild birds.

Bird owners should also ensure their footwear is clean, always wash hands before and after handling birds or eggs and quarantine new birds before integrating with existing ones.

Consumers should not be concerned about eggs and poultry products from the supermarkets, they do not pose a risk and are safe to consume.

Any suspicion of an emergency animal disease (EAD) should be immediately reported to the 24-hour EAD Hotline on 1800 675 888 or to your local vet.

Find out more information on avian influenza and see updates.

Quotes attributable to Victoria’s Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Graeme Cooke

“Preliminary testing has confirmed the presence of avian influenza virus at an egg farm near Meredith.”

“Agriculture Victoria is responding with staff on the ground supporting the business with further laboratory investigations as necessary.”

“Poultry farmers, backyard flock and bird owners are urged to report any cases of unexplained bird deaths to the 24-hour Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888, or to your local vet.”

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