JOHANNESBURG, April 13 (Reuters) – An outbreak of avian influenza has been detected on a chicken farm in South Africa’s central province of Gauteng, the agricultural ministry said on Tuesday.
Around 300 birds died of avian flu at the commercial chicken-layer farm in Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg, with samples from the farm testing positive for the H5N8 strain, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development said in a statement. The birds in the affected house at the farm were destroyed and the farm placed under quarantine while veterinary authorities investigate the extent of the outbreak.
The same farm had also been affected by the 2017 outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N8 strain of avian flu, which saw poultry farmers culling millions of birds and prompted neighbouring countries including Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana to ban poultry imports from South Africa.
The H5N8 strain of avian influenza is highly pathogenic among fowl but poses little risk to human health. The department warned poultry farmers to be on the lookout for signs of the disease and report any suspicions to the nearest state veterinarian. (Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)© Copyright Thomson Reuters 2021. Click For Restrictions – http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
“As a result, the import of domesticated and wild birds, their products (meat, eggs and feathers), from South Africa is banned with immediate effect,” Botswana’s Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security said in a statement. Botswana has halted poultry imports from South Africa before, after a 2017 outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N8 bird flu. Animal health authorities are urging the public to be vigilant and report any deaths of domestic poultry or wild birds to veterinary offices. Source: poultry site