An infectious poultry disease has been confirmed on a Mainland Poultry property just north of Dunedin and possibly another near Moeraki. The poultry industry is confident the highly infectious virus will not lead to an egg shortage. Mainland Poultry chief executive Michael Guthrie says the birds don’t have any disease symptoms and continue to maintain healthy appetites and lay as many eggs as normal. The disease poses no risk to humans but could impact on the $59 million meat export trade, mainly to Australia. At Waikouaiti, 315,000 birds are affected out of a population of more than 1 million, while at Hillgrove it involves 40,000 hens. Tests of other South Island layer and meat chicken farms have yet to be completed, and results In the North Island will be available in a month. Officials are also investigating how the virus got into the country.
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