Possible outbreak of bird flu in the Western Cape

A possible outbreak of bird flu in the Western Cape is being investigated.

The Western Cape Department of Agriculture said on Saturday it was investigating possible incidences of Highly Pathogenic Avian influenza (HPAI)‚ type H5N8‚ on two ostrich farms in the Heidelberg area.

Avian influenza is a controlled disease in terms of the Animal Diseases Act‚ 35 of 1984.

“Investigations on the farms are in progress and both farms have been placed under quarantine. Quarantine measures entail no movement of birds to and from the affected properties will be allowed. People and vehicles will have to adhere to strict hygiene measures‚” the department said in a statement.

Thirteen outbreaks have occurred in South Africa since June this year‚ in Mpumalanga and Gauteng. The outbreaks involved seven commercial chicken farms‚ two groups of backyard chickens‚ three sets of wild birds and one group of domestic geese.

Avian influenza is a viral respiratory disease of birds believed to be transmitted by wild migratory birds. In Southern Africa‚ the H5N8 strain of the disease also affected the poultry industry in Zimbabwe‚ where thousands of commercial birds have died or had to be culled.


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