Bird flu danger finally passes

Restrictions on the movement of birds and bird products in Maitland have been lifted after tests revealed there were no further signs of avian influenza in the area.

The virus was detected at an egg production farm north-east of Maitland last month.

As a result, the NSW Department of Primary Industries destocked and decontaminated the farm.

“Follow up testing and surveillance over five weeks on nearby poultry facilities indicates that the virus has not spread to surrounding properties,” NSW deputy chief veterinary officer Therese Wright said.

“A range of restrictions on the movements of birds and bird products within, into, or out of the area have now been lifted. The control and restricted areas have been revoked following the completion of the testing regime.”

This virus was not the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain that has gained worldwide attention – nor was it closely related to that strain. 

Australia has previously had a small number of outbreaks of A1 viruses and all were quickly and successfully eradicated.

Ms Wright said no further signs of the disease had been found anywhere in NSW.

“We will be conducting more tests when the affected farm is  restocked as a safety precaution,” she said.

“NSW DPI’s rapid response to the outbreak was critical in protecting other flocks around NSW and Australia. Avian influenza is one of the biggest potential threats to our poultry industry in NSW.”

Ms Wright said bird owners must remain vigilant, practice appropriate biosecurity and report any unusual disease signs in their birds.

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