The warning, issued at 12.30pm today by the state’s Chief Veterinary Officer, stated controls had been put in place to restrict the movement of birds, equipment and products in and out of the Restricted Area and Control Area unless a permit had been issued by Agriculture Victoria.
“No birds, bird products or equipment can move into, out of or within the shire without a permit,” the warning stated.
“This means eggs, manure and birds cannot be sold or given away at farm-gate, off property or at markets in this area.”
Avian influenza is a highly contagious disease that infects chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, guinea fowl, quail, pheasants and ostriches.
Many species of wild birds, including waterfowl and seabirds can also carry the virus. It can also spread between locations by movement of eggs, birds, people, vehicles and equipment between farms, and by clothing, footwear, aerosols, water, feed, litter, wild birds, biting insects and vermin.
“There are no food safety issues identified; properly cooked chicken meat and eggs are safe to eat,” the statement read.
“All bird owners should regularly check their birds for signs of avian influenza.
“If you suspect your birds are sick you should contact your local vet or call the Emergency Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.”
All infected properties have been quarantined.
Signs of the disease may include:
Birds with difficulties breathing, such as coughing, sneezing, or rasping
Swelling of the head, purple discolouration of the comb and wattles
Rapid drop in eating, drinking and egg production
Ruffled feathers, dopiness, closed eyes