40,000 birds to be destroyed after bird flu outbreak
More than 40,000 birds will be exterminated on a Lethbridge free-range egg farm as Victoria races to contain a major bird flu outbreak.
Avian influenza, known commonly as bird flu, is a highly contagious disease affecting ducks, chickens, geese, turkeys and quail and carried by wild birds.
Movement controls had been put in place for the Golden Plains Shire and a buffer was established within 5km of the property.
Chief Veterinary Officer Graeme Cooke said protective measures were already in place on the infected property to contain the virus.
"A comprehensive program has been started to ensure early detection if the virus is present on other farms," Dr Cooke said.
"Bird owners should make sure they're putting practical biosecurity in place on their property, especially to reduce contact between wild birds and domestic poultry."
It's understood Agriculture Victoria will conduct surveillance within the restricted and control areas, including contacting more than 300 property owners.
No other properties have tested positive, but samples have been taken from producers in the restricted area and sent for laboratory testing.
The state last responded to a low pathogenic strain of bird flu in 2012, and the last highly pathogenic strain was discovered in 1992.
Health authorities confirmed the H7N7 virus rarely affected humans unless there was direct, close contact with affected birds.
Longtime Teesdale poultry breeder Ian Nash said, while the outbreak was "very worrying", there had been no poultry shows and little movement of birds due to coronavirus and social distancing restrictions.
"There haven't been any shows or birds moving around to other people's place," he said.
"We're extra wary and keeping wild birds out of the pens."
Mr Nash said he "felt sorry" for the owners and operators of the farm at the centre of the outbreak.
"Right now, we're just focused on keeping our birds as healthy, dry and warm as possible," he said.
Originally published as 40,000 birds to be destroyed after bird flu outbreak