The National Management Group (NMG) for Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza (LPAI) met for a second time on 3 February 2012 and agreed to cost sharing arrangements in response to its detection in ducks in Victoria. The response is taking place under the Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement (EADRA) – a legally binding agreement between the Australian Government, all state and territory governments, peak industry bodies and Animal Health Australia.
The NMG agreed on 27 January 2012 to a program to eradicate LPAI following its detection at two duck farms, North West of Melbourne. This decision was based on recommendations from the Consultative Committee on Emergency Animal Disease (CCEAD) who provides technical advice during animal disease emergencies.
Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza (LPAI) is not the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain that has gained worldwide attention. The low pathogenicity H5 subtype detected in Victoria has a low capacity to cause disease in ducks and on occasion, has been detected in wild birds in Australia. This is not an unusual occurrence.
There are no food safety issues, poultry and eggs are safe to eat following normal food handling arrangements.
NMG members noted that the Victorian Department of Primary Industries (DPI) had overseen the humane euthanasia and appropriate disposal of all ducks on the quarantined properties under the program approved by NMG. Tracing and surveillance activities have found no evidence that the disease has spread beyond the original property. The properties are now being thoroughly cleaned and disinfected to ensure that there is no virus remaining.
While ongoing management rests with Victoria, the CCEAD is providing veterinary and biosecurity expertise. Despite the duck industry not being party to the EADRA, it continues to work cooperatively with authorities to eradicate the disease.
Further information on the response can be found on the Victorian DPI website.
The NMG thanks the Victorian Department of Primary Industries for their efforts in responding to this detection.
The NMG comprises the Chief Executive Officers of the Commonwealth and state/territory departments of agriculture/primary industries across Australia, the Australian Chicken Meat Federation, the Australian Egg Corporation Limited and Animal Health Australia as a non–voting member. It is chaired by the Secretary of the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Dr Conall O’Connell or his delegate.
The CCEAD comprises the Commonwealth Chief Veterinary Officer, all state and territory Chief Veterinary Officers, nominated representatives of the Australian Animal Health Laboratory, the Australian Chicken Meat Federation and the Australian Egg Corporation Limited. Animal Health Australia attends as an observer.