Avian flu affected egg farms start again from scratch

Avian flu infected egg farms near Young have started restocking after last month's devastating outbreak.

NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, and Member for Wollondilly, Jai Rowell,  toured the Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute (EMAI) at Camden yesterday, where they praised scientists for their crucial role in the recent H7 Avian Influenza outbreak at two egg farms near Young.

“EMAI, in partnership with the Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Geelong, Victoria, confirmed the presence of the Avian Influenza well within 24 hours of receiving the samples from Young,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

“Since then, the institute has tested more than 2800 samples as part of the eradication operation.

“Our world-renowned scientists were able to not only identify the influenza virus, but also acted quickly to determine that the virus was in fact the H7 Avian Influenza strain, not the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain which has gained worldwide attention.

“This outbreak of Avian Influenza has had a devastating impact on the intensive farming industry near Young and NSW biosecurity officials have worked shoulder-to-shoulder with industry to get the businesses back on their feet as quickly as possible.”

Mr Rowell said EMAI has studied 426 blood tests searching for antibodies to the virus, and a further 2395 tests looking for any signs of the influenza virus.

“Given the large amount of intensive farming operations in this region, it is comforting to know the world-class scientists at EMAI are at the top of their game,” Mr Rowell said.

“EMAI has again performed to the high standards established during the Equine Influenza outbreak while dealing with the current Avian Influenza outbreak.

“The EMAI is a terrific institute and one that I know is valued by many in my electorate.”

Ms Hodgkinson said EMAI also confirmed further presence of the H7 virus on a second property near Young.

“Staff worked tirelessly right across the state to manage this outbreak, from on the ground at Young, and at coordination centres in Cowra and Orange, to here in Camden,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

“Decontamination of the infected properties at Young is now completed and restocking has commenced.”

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