While the South African Poultry Association devise means to end the plague currently hitting on poultry farms in the country, two more poultry farms in Gauteng and Mpumalanga has joined the list of Bird Flu affected poultry farms.
Though the names of the poultry farms were not disclosed, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said in a statement that the commercial layer farms have been infected with the HPAI H5N8 virus and placed under immediate quarantine by the state veterinarian.
Over 2000 birds have so far been culled since the virus was detected in SA’s poultry. Farms, where the virus outbreaks are detected, are put under quarantine measures to limit its spread.
These are parts of the measures needed to isolate and eliminate the disease on all farms South African farms.
“Forward tracing was done and cull chicken depots were identified, which had received live cull chickens from one of the affected farms in the last 21 days. The records of these cull depots are being followed up to trace as many of these chickens as possible” the department said while pinpointing what cull depot is responsible for the outbreak.
Two outbreaks of avian flu that happened in recent weeks were detected in South Africa, including on a farm belonging to poultry producer Astral.
This is causing the country a huge export loss as countries including Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana have suspended poultry imports from South Africa.
Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries have introduced a new registration system which makes tracing the source of poultry much easier. Farm owners are required to sign up to ensure the trading of livestock can be carried out safely.
The department has continued to assure South Africans that the spread of the disease will soon be a thing of the past. The Department stressed that humans cannot catch the H5N8 virus.
Workers on all farms have been tested and no human outbreaks of bird flu have been found but the department has urged Chicken owners and farmers to prevent contact of their chickens with wild birds as much as possible.
“Increased surveillance in wild birds, commercial chickens and backyard chickens is continuing. Chicken owners, farmers and the public should remain vigilant and all cases of high mortality in chickens and other birds should be reported to the nearest State veterinarian.”
South Africans are therefore encouraged to continue eating their roast chicken, boiled eggs, duck breast, etc, as the virus is killed during cooking processes.
Two other poultry farms in Gauteng and Mpumalanga have been infected by the H5N8 bird flu but the Agricultural Department said there’s no need to panic.