Australia reports new bird flu case at poultry farm as global concerns rise

A new case of highly pathogenic avian influenza has been detected at a poultry farm in Australia’s southeastern Victoria state, officials said on Thursday, a day after the country reported its first human case of the virus and also a strain on an egg farm.

The human case found in Australia is of the same H5N1 strain that has spread rapidly around the world but the ones detected on the farms in Victoria are of the different H7N3 strain.

Agriculture Victoria, in a statement, linked the strain detected at the poultry farm in the Terang region to that reported at the egg farm in Meredith, where it said “the H7N3 high pathogenic strain of avian influenza virus has resulted in numerous poultry deaths”.

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“The property in Terang is directly connected with the Meredith property, through joint management, staff and machinery,” it said.

The statement quoted Victoria’s Chief Veterinarian Graeme Cooke as saying that Agriculture Victoria staff were on the ground to help contain and eradicate the virus.

Victoria was also the site of an H7N7 outbreak in 2020, the most recent of Australia’s nine outbreaks of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) since 1976. All were quickly reined in and stamped out, the government says.

In the United States, a second human case of bird flu has been confirmed since the virus was first detected in dairy cattle in late March, U.S. officials said on Wednesday.

The H5N1 outbreak among dairy cattle in at least nine U.S. states since late March has raised questions over whether it could spread to humans.

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