Suspected case of bird flu at Lower Hunter chicken farm 

A LOWER Hunter chicken farm has been placed in quarantine by the Department of Primary Industries due to a suspected case of bird flu.

Investigations are under way at the egg farm to determine if the virus has spread.

‘‘The suspected virus is definitely not the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain that has gained worldwide attention, nor is it closely related to that strain,’’ NSW chief veterinary officer Ian Roth said.

‘‘Australia has previously had a small number of Avian influenza viruses which were all quickly and successfully eradicated.’’

Final confirmation of the virus is expected from the CSIRO’s Australian Animal Health Laboratory this afternoon.

Dr Roth said a team had been sent to the farm, at an undisclosed location, to monitor the lock down.

He said the property owners were co-operating and the egg industry’s peak body Australian Egg Corporation had been advised.

People who notice sick or dead birds should call 1800 675 888.