New case of avian flu confirmed on Standerton farm

The South African government will on Thursday, June 29, 2017 address members of the media on the latest outbreak of Avian Influenza in the country.

Namibia's Directorate of Veterinary Services told Fin24 on Tuesday that it has suspended SA poultry imports.

SA's trading partners have been notified because they require a declaration that the country is free of the highly pathogenic avian influenza for trade in fresh poultry meat and unprocessed poultry products.

Earlier this month‚ South Africa along with Botswana banned chicken imports from Zimbabwe when a bird flu outbreak was detected in one of Zimbabwe's leading poultry companies. This includes ostriches and ostrich products.

The strain was identified on a commercial chicken farm in Mpumalanga and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said 243,000 birds could be affected. The suspension is in line with the animal health act, (Act 1 of 2011).

"This strain has been found not to be unsafe to humans and the birds affected are a very small percentage of the total South African chicken flock".

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (Daff) yesterday placed a general ban on the sale of live chicken throughout the country as the contagious H5N8 avian flu spreads to more provinces.

This would allow the department to send veterinary officials for a follow-up investigation and to collect samples.

"The virus is the same strain as the initial case reported, but the two farms are not directly linked, meaning this is a separate introduction", said department spokesperson Bomikazi Molapo.

According to Dr Charlotte Nkuna, senior executive at the South African Poultry Association, it poses a serious threat to SA's poultry industry.

Vanessa Coleman