The Department of Agriculture and Food has identified a single case of low pathogenic H5 avian influenza in a backyard duck.
Department livestock biosecurity director Michelle Rodan said tests had confirmed the presence of low pathogenic H5 influenza virus in a duck from a property north-east of Perth.
“This strain of H5 influenza is not the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus that affects poultry and humans in much of Asia,” Dr Rodan said.
Dr Rodan said once the virus was confirmed, 71 ducks and chickens originating from the property were humanely euthanased as required under national protocols.
The ducks and chickens had been moved to a second property north of Perth, where a further 24 ducks and chickens were located. These were also euthanased.
“As a precaution, we are tracing the movement of any birds which may have had contact with the infected duck,” she said.
“We are also conducting surveillance at neighbouring properties to where the infected duck was kept.
“The department has tested other birds on the property which have not had contact with the affected birds to ensure they have not contracted the virus.”
Dr Rodan said the case was an important reminder for bird owners to follow good biosecurity practices, including:
· restricting contact between pet birds, poultry and wild birds
· preventing contamination of food and water by faeces or other animal waste
· keeping equipment and poultry yards or aviaries clean
· practising good hygiene if attending bird shows
· limiting visitor access to birds and quarantining new birds
· washing hands before and after handling birds.
If bird owners see sick or dead birds, they should contact their local veterinarian or call the Emergency Animal Disease Watch hotline on 1800 675 888.
“The Department of Health advises that low pathogenic avian influenza poses no known serious threat to human health,” Dr Rodan said.
Cooked poultry and eggs, remain safe to eat.
Media contact: Jodie Thomson, media liaison +61 (0)8 9368 3937