Authorities confirmed that the outbreak, among a flock of 400,000 layer hens on a farm near Young, is the H7 strain of the disease. According to a report from the World Health Organsiation (OIE), 18,000 birds have died from the virus and the rest of the flock will be culled.
In a statement, the NSW Department of Primary Industries’ (DPI) said the farm had been quarantined, with a 10-kilometre radius control zone implemented and “extensive surveillance and tracing” under way to ensure the virus did not spread.
It stressed that the virus was not the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain linked with human illness.
“The NSW Food Authority has confirmed that there are no food safety issues and that poultry and eggs remain safe to eat,” said the statement. “There is no evidence that eating food from farms that have been affected by avian influenza have ever caused human illness.”
Italy and Vietnam outbreaks
Meanwhile, Hong Kong authorities have banned poultry and poultry egg imports from parts of Italy and Vietnam following outbreaks of avian influenza.
The outbreak in Italy, on a poultry farm in the Brescia Province of the Lombardy Region, was confirmed by the European Commission as low-pathogenic H5 avian influenza. Hong Kong’s Centre for Food Safety (CFS) said it had banned import of all poultry and poultry products from the region with immediate effect.
The outbreak in Vietnam was confirmed as the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of avian influenza. The OIE said that 370 birds had died from the disease on a duck and chicken farm in the Hoa Binh province, with a further 805 destroyed by health officials.