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Australia Reports First Human Case of Avian Influenza and Outbreak at Egg Farm

Avian Influenza
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Australia has reported its first human case of avian influenza, also known as bird flu, in a child who contracted the virus in India but has since made a full recovery. Additionally, a different strain of highly pathogenic bird flu was detected at an egg farm near Melbourne, Victoria.

The human case involves the H5N1 strain, which has been responsible for widespread outbreaks globally, affecting billions of farmed and wild birds and spreading to tens of mammal species. Health authorities in Victoria have assured that contact tracing has not identified any further cases, and the risk of others becoming infected is very low, as the flu does not easily spread between people.

Dr. Claire Looker, Victoria’s chief health officer, confirmed that this is the first confirmed human case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Australia and the first instance of detection of the H5N1 strain in a person or animal in the country. The child experienced a severe infection but has fully recovered.

Meanwhile, the outbreak at the egg farm involves an unidentified H7 strain, which is believed to have originated from the wild bird population and has been seen in Australia before. The farm has been placed under movement restrictions, and the birds will be destroyed to prevent further spread. While the outbreak presents no risk to human health, the industry is taking precautions to ensure the continued supply of eggs and chicken meat.

Industry bodies, such as Australian Eggs and the Australian Chicken Meat Federation, have assured that farmers are working hard to maintain supplies, and no discernible impact is expected on chicken meat supplies at the retail level. However, shares of chicken producer Inghams Group initially plummeted by 16% but later recovered to a 5.5% loss after the company confirmed that its operations had not been affected.

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