The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development on Thursday, 6 May, announced another outbreak of Avian Influenza – also known as bird flu- in a commercial chicken farm in Randfontein in Gauteng.

Preceding this outbreak, four outbreaks were detected on other commercial chicken properties. 

ALL FIVE FARMS HAVE BEEN QUARANTINED

A total of five HPAI H5N1 outbreaks – four in Gauteng and one outbreak in North West has been reported.  All affected farms have been quarantined, with control measures being implemented,” the department said.

“Genetic evaluation has confirmed that the outbreak reported in commercial layers on 13 of April in Gauteng and the one on commercial broiler-breeders in the North West seem to have been caused by non-identical AI strains,” the department said.

The Department added that these two outbreaks were more likely to have been caused by separate introductions. 

“It is essential for everyone across the country to remain on high alert.”

EVERY POULTRY DEATH TO BE TREATED AS BIRD FLU

The department said that all increases in mortality rates (deaths) must be reported to the state veterinarian immediately.

“Everyone across the country is once again urged to treat any increase in mortalities (deaths) of poultry and other bird species as potential avian influenza, until proven otherwise.”

“It must be mentioned that no human infection, due to these circulating strains, had been reported in Europe and thus the zoonotic risk to people is very low, the consumer has no reason to be concerned.”

SOME COUNTRIES LIFTED BAN ON EXPORTS

Following the outbreak of bird flu on 13 April 2021, all neighbouring countries have lifted the ban on exports of live chicken and unprocessed products, except Lesotho, which has banned exports from Gauteng.

However, Hong Kong has notified the department of a temporary suspension of the importation of all poultry (carcass, parts and offal) products (including eggs) from the affected municipalities within the Gauteng and North West.

To report the deaths of poultry, contact the department at https://www.dalrrd.gov.za/Branches/Agricultural-Production-Health-Food-Safety/Animal-Health/contacts/provincialveterinary

READ: ‘Bird Flu’ outbreak: Second farm to be hit in Gauteng

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Presh JM Reporter

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