Australia detects bird flu at egg farm, early tests show it is not H5N1

By Thomson Reuters May 21, 2024 | 9:46 PM

SYDNEY/CANBERRA (Reuters) -Avian influenza has been detected on an egg farm near Melbourne but preliminary test results show it is not the same strain that has swept the globe and infected dairy cows in the United States, Australia’s agriculture ministry said on Wednesday.

A number of poultry died at the farm, which has been placed into quarantine, authorities said.

The agriculture ministry said tests were being carried out to determine which type of virus was involved and its severity.

“However, we know from preliminary results that this is not the same strain as the one being reported overseas, including in the United States and Antarctica,” it said.

H5N1 bird flu has been spreading into the U.S. cattle herd after infecting wild birds and poultry flocks globally for more than two years, also killing several mammal species that likely contracted the virus from consuming sick or dead birds.

Australia has so far remained free of the H5N1 virus.

(Reporting by Peter Hobson; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Stephen Coates)