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Joburg warns residents for bird flu H5N8

Johannesburg has been hit by the global outbreak of the avian influenza (HPAI) H5N8 strain that was first detected in Europe and Asia. The disease is not contagious to human beings.

Joburg councillor Nonhlanhla Sifumba‚ MMC for community development‚ noted that the seasonal migration of free roaming birds has aided in the spread of the virus. In the city the disease centres around the Westdene Dam‚ Emmarentia Dam‚ Zoo Lake and the Joburg Zoo.

Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo (JPCZ) sees no cause for concern that the disease may spread to citizens. However residents are urged to take the necessary precautions by not handling sick or dead birds‚ nor feeding sick birds‚ and to report sightings of sick or dead birds to JCPZ on 011-712-6600. JPCZ has a team on standby to assist with the removal of diseased birds.

Further‚ residents are urged to ensure that all poultry produce is properly cooked.

By Thursday‚ Johannesburg City Parks had recovered more than 581 bird carcasses and incinerated 243 chicks and 110 deserted eggs. The Joburg Zoo is following instructions of the state veterinarian to ensure that the valuable collection of vulnerable species will be protected.

The Joburg Zoo remains open to visitors. They will need to use footbaths with disinfectant at the exits. Vehicles exiting from inside the Zoo are sprayed.

Symptoms in birds include a combination of respiratory problems‚ or diarrhoea followed by rapid death.

Residents with concerns may direct their enquiries to jcp@jhbcityparks.com or call 011-712-6600 or report sightings after hours to 082-906-1515.

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