As if Victoria didn’t have enough to do with a second outbreak of coronavirus right now a case of bird flu has been discovered at a poultry farm in Victoria.
Health authorities have confirmed that the farm is under quarantine, and that there is no public risk. Dr. Graeme Cooke, Chief Veterinary Officer of Victoria, said there was a 5 km wide safety zone around the farm and it is in quarantine.
The situation is being handled by staff and biosafety officers, he said.
Bird flu affects many birds. Unlike the coronavirus, however, the virus has made the transition from birds to humans.
Like COVID-19, symptoms of bird flu begin as normal flu such as cough, fever , sore throat, muscle aches , headache and shortness of breath.
Birds and their eggs have tested positive for H7N7 avian influenza virus on the free-range farm near Lethbridge, in rural Victoria.
There is currently no risk of contracting bird flu from any food supplied by the farm, Dr Cooke assured Victorians.
“All pigeon races, bird shows and bird sales in the areas around the quarantined property should be cancelled,” he said in a statement.
“To control the spread of avian influenza, birds on the affected property are being destroyed.”
The state’s Department of Health and Human Services said the H7N7 virus was “not a risk to the public as it rarely affects humans unless there is direct and close contact with sick birds”.
Farmers are advised to report any unusual and unexplained deaths of birds to the 24-hour Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline at 1800 675 888, or to their nearest vet or animal health workers at Agriculture Victoria.