Avian Influenza confirmed at Hunter Valley egg farm

15 Nov 2012

Please note - This news release has now been archived and may contain outdated information.

H7 Avian Influenza has been confirmed in a flock of 50,000 layer hens near Maitland, NSW Chief Veterinary Officer Ian Roth said today.

"The results were confirmed by CSIRO’s Australian Animal Health Laboratory and follows initial testing at the State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratories at the Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute," Dr Roth said.

"The results confirm that the virus is not the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain that has gained worldwide attention — nor is it closely related to that strain."

The NSW Food Authority has confirmed that there are no food safety issues and that poultry and eggs remain safe to eat.

"There is no evidence that eating food from farms that have been affected by avian influenza have ever caused human illness," NSW Food Authority Chief Scientist, Lisa Szabo said.

"It is always prudent for consumers to take normal food safety precautions. Our usual advice is to avoid eating raw eggs, and not to eat cracked or dirty eggs," said Dr Szabo.

Dr Roth said the property has been quarantined and the Department of Primary Industries’ First Response Team has been activated to oversee the response.

"The remaining birds on the property will now be culled in-line with national agreements," Dr Roth said.

"DPI and the Livestock Health and Pest Authority are continuing surveillance and tracing to confirm the virus hasn’t spread. We currently have no evidence to suggest it has spread.

"Australia has previously had a small number of outbreaks of H7 Avian Influenza viruses which were all quickly and successfully eradicated.

"The Avian Influenza virus exists in Australia’s wild birds."

Dr Roth said people who notice sick or dead birds should contact their local veterinarian or call the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline 1800 675 888.

For further information on avian influenza is available.


Media contact: Steve Green 6391 3686 or 0427 192 658