A highly pathogenic form of avian influenza – Bird Flu – has been discovered within a broiler breeder site in Mpumalanga.
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has announced that it is now attempting to trace the origin of the virus by conducting backward and forward tracing on the movement of the affected poultry.
“The two provinces are conducting surveillance in the 30km control zone for other potentially affected properties”, expressed the department concerning movement between Mpumalanga and Free State provinces. “All provinces have been notified and are on high alert”.
The department has issued a list of control measures to affected farms and surrounds which should ensure control over the spreading of the virus.
A complete standstill of the poultry has been ordered, along with mass culling and provincial wide veterinary inspections to be mandatory.
According to the Democratic Alliance (DA) 5 000 chickens have already died with around 19 000 expected to be humanely euthanised in the coming week.
Although the department has placed a general ban on the sale of live spent hens across the country, the DA has pushed for a parliamentary brief to occur. They have requested that Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Senzeni Zokwana present a concrete plan for both damage control and prevention in the future.
The impact of the outbreak of H5N8 could be felt on both the ostrich industry and on international trade partners potentially losing South Africa millions.
“South Africa has never had an outbreak of bird flu before”, stated the DA’s Shadow Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Annette Steyn.
To date no cases of humans infected with the H5N8 virus has been reported.