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Egg testing finds potential presence of IBD on Otago farm

“The Egg Producers Federation (EPF) has received confirmation from Biosecurity New Zealand that a lower South Island commercial layer hen farm, potentially has Infectious Bursal Disease (IBD) type 1.

“There is no evidence that IBD type 1poses any risk to humans, or other animals or bird species. IBD has no effect on food safety, so eggs and fresh chicken are safe to consume as usual.

“The strain was discovered at Mainland’s Waikouaiti farm in New Zealand’s lower South Island region of Otago, through its own regular, voluntary testing routine. IBD is contagious amongst poultry aged between two and 15 weeks. When Mainland’s testing identified a possible positive for IBD, no birds were exhibiting any signs of illness or distress. They continue to show no symptoms, which is not uncommon with some virus strains, and all birds are through what would be the critical period of the virus.

“In addition, a second Mainland property near the Waikouaiti facility, has returned suspect results. These are in the early stages of the confirmation process.

“Biosecurity New Zealand has told us preliminary indications show that while IBD is likely present, further overseas testing is required to confirm this. While we await results, Biosecurity New Zealand has suspended trade to countries that require a guarantee that New Zealand is IBD type 1 free.”

“Since Industry was made aware of the initial voluntary test results at the farm, we have responded with accelerated testing for IBD on egg and poultry farms around the country. To date, every region tested has come back negative for IBD type 1. Otago and Southland are the two remaining regions and we will complete testing there in the next few days.
“While we complete these final tests, operations at the Waikouaiti farm will continue as usual as none of their birds show any signs of illness. Mainland has exemplary biosecurity measures in place, and both Biosecurity New Zealand and Industry have confidence the virus will not spread from that facility.

“IBDV is present worldwide and New Zealand already has the strain of the virus known as Type 2 on a few farms, where it causes no significant health issues. Until this new detection, New Zealand was considered free of IBD type 1, so this development is a disappointment when we have worked hard to protect our unique disease-free status for more than 20 years.

“We had a IBD type 1 outbreak in New Zealand in 1993 and were able to successfully eradicate it. Biosecurity New Zealand is working with us and New Zealand trading partners to manage any potential trade impacts and are looking into a range of possibilities to determine how the virus may have arrived in New Zealand.”

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