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National and international collaboration to combat Avian Influenza

National and international biosecurity experts have joined forces with the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) to manage an outbreak of H7 Avian Influenza in the State’s central west.

NSW Chief Veterinarian Officer Ian Roth said representatives from New Zealand, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia are working collaboratively with the DPI and Livestock Health and Pest Authority.

“This partnership between agencies is an ideal opportunity to share knowledge, skills and expertise,” Mr Roth said.

“The representatives are working at the State Coordination Centre in Orange and the local control centre at Cowra and Young.

“The team are providing valuable input on surveillance, clinical assessments, and emergency response operations.

“The depopulation of birds at each infected farm has now been completed.

“DPI remains vigilant, and is closely monitoring birds at a number of other properties which may have links to the infected farms.”

Members of the national and international team include:
• Dr Katie Hickey, veterinary advisor on the animal, marine and food response team for the Ministry for Primary Industries New Zealand. Dr Hickey has been assisting in emergency operations and control.
• Dr Grant Rawlin, Research Leader Veterinary Pathobiology, Department of Environment and Primary Industries Victoria. Dr Rawlin’s role in Cowra has been to track the disease, take samples, conduct post mortems and clinical assessments.
• Denice Rendell, Planning Manager Biosecurity, Primary Industries and Regions South Australia, is assisting as a member of the National Rapid Response team.
• Lyn Cameron, Manager Emergency Management Capability Unit, Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia. Ms Cameron is involved in logistics, rostering and IT support.
• Dr Karin Morgan, District Veterinary Officer, Department of Environment and Primary Industries Victoria. Dr Morgan is working with the veterinary investigations team covering surveillance which will incorporate wild birds.
• Dr Laura MacFarlane, Veterinary Officer: Informatics and Data Analysis, Department of Environment and Primary Industries Victoria. Dr MacFarlane is assisting the State and Local Control Centres in her role as an Epidemiologist.
• Gary Stone, Animal Health Officer, Department of Environment and Primary Industries Victoria. Mr Stone is assisting in the decontamination operations.

Dr Rawlin said he has been involved in conducting post mortems and clinical assessments.

“It is very interesting following and tracking the disease. By predicting what the outcomes may be I can provide technical advice and assist with the local planning strategy,” Dr Rawlin said.

Ms Rendell said she is assisting DPI by presenting proposals to minimise the impact and to stop the spread of the disease.

“It is necessary to plan for the worst case scenario to ensure all aspects of the emergency response are covered,” Ms Rendell said.

 

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