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HPAI H7N3 Diagnosed in Flock in Victoria, Australia


In a May 23rd report to the World Organization of Animal Health, Agriculture Victoria confirmed the second case of H7N3 strain avian influenza on a farm in Terang linked to a previous case on a farm in Meredith regarded as the initial outbreak.


Authorities imposed a quarantine on the farm together with an approximately 10-mile radius buffer zone within which surveillance will be conducted.


Authorities noted that there is negligible risk to consumers as eggs from the affected flocks were not released to retail distribution.  The source of infection is the subject of epidemiologic investigation but is presumed to be from wild birds.  It is noted that Australia has adopted free-range housing creating a higher level of risk as compared to flocks confined to houses.


Concurrently, authorities in the state of Western Australia have reported on a low pathogenic H9N2 outbreak in the southwest quadrant of the state.  The affected farm was placed under quarantine.  Based on experience, flocks infected with a low pathogenicity strain of avian influenza show mild mortality and a variable drop in egg production but generally recover and cease excreting virus after two to three weeks obviating the need for depopulation.


The U.S. has imposed restrictions on importation of live birds and poultry products from the state of Victoria as a routine measure. In effect, there is little likelihood of any importation of other than zoo-bred exotic species from Australia that are imported under special permit and subject to quarantine on arrival in the U.S.