Australian authorities have quarantined farm for fear of bird flu infection

Australian authorities have for the first time quarantined a farm for fear of bird flu infection, the government said Friday. Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran said the farm in New South Wales state has been quarantined as a precaution after bird flu tests on a chicken there were inconclusive.

Samples have been sent to a federal government laboratory for further testing, McGauran said. "While there is no evidence of any outbreak of avian influenza on the property, it has been placed under quarantine as a precautionary measure," he said.

The statement did not say when the test result became known, when the quarantine came into force or for how long it was set to last. "This is consistent with Australia's conservative approach to managing animal health and disease risks," McGauran added.

Investigators visited the property and found no sick or dead birds in the flock. "Of the range of tests concluded, all were clearly negative except for some molecular tests which gave some weak inconclusive results," McGauran said. In October inspectors quarantined 102 pigeons imported from Canada which had been exposed to the virus. Three of the birds were destroyed, reports the AP. I.L.

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