Livestock

New outbreak of avian influenza

By Geoff Adams

Agriculture Victoria has confirmed that there has been a second egg farm in Victoria impacted by avian influenza.

The farm, which has not been identified, has been quarantined and movement controls have been introduced to prevent further spread, the department said.

Avian influenza, otherwise known as bird flu or AI, is a type of influenza virus that can cause high numbers of deaths in birds.

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services has confirmed that this strain of AI is not a risk to the public as it rarely affects humans unless there is direct and close contact with sick birds.

The egg industry is working with authorities to eradicate the virus with increased biosecurity protocols being implemented on all nearby properties to assist with containment.

Agriculture Victoria said eggs remained safe to eat and supply remained steady.

“With avian influenza present in wild birds in Australia, these incidents happen periodically and can have a devastating impact on the farms involved which are good farming operations”, Australian Eggs managing director Rowan McMonnies said.

“This incident comes at a difficult time with COVID-19 impacting Victoria. The farms involved form a relatively small part of our national egg production which provides 17.2 million eggs to Australians every day.

“Fortunately, egg farms are not impacted by the stage 4 restrictions in Victoria and production across the industry has remained steady since March.

“Australian consumers should take comfort that eggs remain safe to eat and egg farmers will be working hard during this difficult time to ensure there are eggs on shelves.”

Agriculture Victoria said the transfer of avian influenza from birds to humans was very low, and could not be transmitted through the consumption of eggs.

There is little risk for people in Australia being affected by avian influenza through normal contact with birds.