Pet duck with bird flu sparks euthanisations

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Nearly 100 birds in Perth have been euthanased as a precaution after a pet duck was found to have a type of bird flu.

The state's Department of Agriculture has confirmed to AAP that the domestic duck, who lived at a property north of Perth, was found to have the low pathogen H5 strain of the virus.

Department livestock biosecurity director Michelle Rodan said tests had confirmed the strain of H5 influenza was not the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus, which affects poultry and humans in much of Asia.

"The Department of Health advises that low pathogenic avian influenza poses no known serious threat to human health," Dr Rodan said.

"Once the virus was confirmed, 71 ducks and chickens originating from the property were humanely euthanased as required under national protocols.

"The ducks and chickens had been moved to a second property north of Perth, where a further 24 ducks and chickens were located.

These were also euthanased."

As a precaution, the department is also tracing the movement of any birds that may have had contact with the infected duck.

"We are also conducting surveillance at neighbouring properties where the infected duck was kept," Dr Rodan said.

The department has tested other birds on the property to ensure they have not contracted the virus even though they have not been in contact with the infected duck.

Dr Rodan said the case was an important reminder for bird owners to follow good biosecurity practices, including restricting contact between pet birds, poultry and wild birds, preventing contamination of food and water by faeces, and keeping equipment and poultry yards or aviaries clean.

Any bird owners who see sick or dead birds should contact their local vet, or could call the Emergency Animal Disease Watch hotline on 1800 675 888.

- AAP

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