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Biosecurity Queensland Monitoring NZ AI Reports

by 5m Editor
22 September 2008, at 10:29am

QUEENSLAND - Reports of a strain of avian influenza (AI), or "bird flu", being detected in wild ducks in New Zealand should act as a reminder to Australian poultry owners to maintain good biosecurity standards.

Biosecurity Queensland's Chief Veterinary Officer, Ron Glanville, from the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (DPI&F), urged poultry owners and farmers to ensure wild waterbirds could not access poultry feed or water, and to limit contact between wild waterbirds and poultry.

"This is just a common-sense, precautionary measure," he said.

"The infection detected in New Zealand is a low pathogenic strain and will not cause significant disease problems in birds.

"Neither Australia nor New Zealand have ever detected a highly pathogenic strain of H5N1 bird flu, the strain that is causing problems in a number of other countries.

"The only recorded incident in Queensland was in 1994 and it was caused by a H7N7 strain. An emergency response at the time restricted the infection to one farm.

"In Australia we conduct regular surveillance of bird populations for AI, but no highly pathogenic strains have been found since 1994.

"Queensland has many species of wild ducks and you would expect AI strains to be circulating within these populations.

"These strains do not normally represent a serious problem, but I encourage anyone with poultry to take this New Zealand finding as a reminder to check their own biosecurity procedures to minimise any contact with wild waterbirds."

5m Editor