Bird flu scare ends in poultry sales ban

The government introduced a countrywide ban on the sale of live poultry yesterday to try to contain an outbreak of the highly contagious bird flu.

The pathogenic avian influenza H5N8 was confirmed in a broiler breeder site in Mpumalanga on Thursday. H5N8 is a rapidly spreading viral disease that can infect many types of birds and it is highly contagious. It exists naturally in many birds and can be transmitted by coming into contact with infected animals or through ingestion of infected food or water.

“The department has established a 30km control zone in Mpumalanga and the Free State. The provinces are conducting surveillance in the control zone for other affected properties. All provinces have been notified and are on high alert.”

Second case of bird flu confirmed in Mpumalanga

“It is normally introduced by. water birds. Once it is in poultry, it can spread.

As a precautionary measure, the government has told us to stop live sales to minimise the risk of the disease spreading. Many businesses will be affected by the ban. It will be largely smaller farmers who sell live birds and people who sell live chickens in the township areas.”

He said the government would hold meetings with the poultry industry today to devise strategies to deal with the disease.

BY PENWELL DLAMINI – Tiso Black Star Group

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