Australian authorities handling an outbreak of bird flu at a New South Wales egg farm have quarantined the property and ordered that its flock of 50,000 layer hens be culled.
Scientists have confirmed the presence of H7 Avian Influenza at the property in Maitland, 160km north of Sydney.
In a statement, the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) stressed that the flu strain was "not the highly pathogenic H5NI strain that has gained worldwide attention - nor is it closely related to that strain".
The H5N1 was first detected in 1997 in Hong Kong and has since caused hundreds of human deaths.
Eggs and poultry safe to eat
DPI chief veterinary officer Ian Roth said there was no evidence the H7 Avian Influenza discovered at the New South Wales farm was affecting humans.
The NSW Food Authority said poultry and eggs remained safe to eat.
"There is no evidence that eating food from farms that have been affected by avian influenza have ever caused human illness," NSW Food Authority Chief Scientist, Lisa Szabo said.
"It is always prudent for consumers to take normal food safety precautions. Our usual advice is to avoid eating raw eggs, and not to eat cracked or dirty eggs," she added.
Tracing and surveillance
NSW Chief Veterinary Officer Ian Roth said there had been small outbreaks in Australia in the past "which were all quickly and successfully eradicated".
The owners of the infected farm have been quarantined as experts try to find the source of the virus.
"It generally spreads by the movement of birds from the farm and there certainly hasn't been any of those," Roth told ABC radio.
"We're in the process now of doing the tracing and also surveillance in the area, and so far the tracing looks quite good. There hasn't been much potential for spread," he added.
Australia's agriculture ministry reported the outbreak to the Paris-based animal health body OIE on Thursday.
Australia faced an outbreak of a bird flu in February that led to a ban on Australian exports of poultry products to Japan, but that was not a highly pathogenic virus.
Most avian influenza viruses do not cause disease in humans.
At least one type of H7 strain, the H7N7 subtype, can infect people and even kill, but the impact on humans usually tends to be mild, the World Health Organization said.