A layer farm in New South Wales, Australia has been hit with an outbreak of highly pathogenic H7N2 avian influenza. The outbreak was reported by the World Organisation for Animal Health on October 16.

As many as 435,000 free range and cage layer hens between 22 and 79 weeks old were susceptible to the avian influenza outbreak, with 18,000 hen fatalities.

A restricted area with a half kilometer radius of the affected farm has been established. It is surrounded by a control area with a five kilometer radius, which is under quarantine. Tracing of all movements with birds, eggs, people and vehicles is under way.

An epidemiological investigation is being conducted in hopes of determining the source of the bird flu infection.

The premises will be disinfected.