Another Australian poultry flock hit by avian flu

After an earlier flock was struck by H7N3 HPAI, the latest confirmed case involved the H7N9 variant of the virus.

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Australia has reported its second commercial poultry flock to be affected by highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). However, the serotype of this flock infection is different from the first.

According to a report from the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) the most recent case of HPAI was confirmed in a mixed free-range and caged commercial egg operation in Terang, Victoria.

The Terang flock was struck by an H7N9 variant of HPAI, whereas the first flock infection, in Meredith, Victoria, was identified as an H7N3 variant of HPAI.

In the instance of H7N9 HPAI 300 hens died, and 14,000 birds were identified as cases. The total flock included 160,000 birds, according to WOAH.

WOAH stated that the Terang farm had a commercial link with the Meredith farm, “through management needs only,” and that the “H7N9 virus is genetically related to strains detected in wild birds in Australia.”

“A detailed surveillance plan is being implemented and epidemiological investigation and tracing is underway,” the WOAH report stated. “Operational activities commenced immediately. A Control Area (CA) and Restricted Area (RA) have been declared around the premises. Movement controls have been implemented in the CA and RA. A requirement to house free-range birds where possible has been put in place across the CA. A public information strategy has been employed.”

The H7N9 case was confirmed on May 23, while the H7N3 case was confirmed on May 21.

Between the two instances of HPAI, Australia has had 573,000 head of poultry affected by HPAI.

The country has also had one human infection, which involved yet another serotype. The Victoria Department of Health reported that a child had contracted an H5N1 variant of the virus while visiting India. The child has reportedly since recovered and is “no longer unwell.”

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