National Management Group Communiqué

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza - 1 August 2020

A response plan for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (H7N7) in Victoria was endorsed on 1 August 2020 by the National Management Group (NMG). The NMG comprises all Australian governments and affected industries made up of the Australian Chicken Meat Federation and Australian Eggs Ltd.

In late July 2020, an outbreak of Avian Influenza H7N7 was detected in poultry at an egg farm near Lethbridge in Victoria.

Agriculture Victoria is responding to the detection and is working with property owners and industry to undertake appropriate response activities.

Avian influenza is a serious disease of poultry, and can cause a high mortality rate in production birds.

The H7N7 virus is not a risk to the public as it rarely affects humans unless there is direct and close contact with sick birds.

There are no food safety issues identified; properly cooked chicken meat and eggs remain safe to eat.

This is not the highly pathogenic influenza H5N1 strain that has gained worldwide attention — nor is it closely related to that strain. It is in no way related to the current Covid-19 pandemic.

If you notice a number of sick or dead birds, contact the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888. If you discover large numbers of sick or dead wild birds, you also need to report this to the hotline so it can be investigated.