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Avian flu detected in W Cape leaves thousands of birds culled or dead

The Western Cape Agriculture Department says 134 000 birds have either been culled or have died from the avian flu across the province.

Provincial Minister Ivan Meyer says two farms have confirmed cases of the flu while tests are being conducted to identify the H5 strain on two other farms.

Meyer says the affected areas include Worcester, Malmesbury and Hopefield.

He says the veterinary service is in the process of investigating other suspected cases and has called on the public to be vigilant and report unusual mortalities in birds.

Third farm reports outbreak of avian flu

No animal-to-human infections have been reported following the three outbreaks.

Several countries have stopped sourcing local poultry products in the meantime. The countries are Botswana, Mozambique and Namibia and Lesotho.

SA Poultry Association’s Collin Steenhuisen says, “Two days ago, we were advised of an outbreak in a broiler breeder farm in the North West over the past few days 14 000 broiler breeders have been culled and samples taken to Onderstepoort for analysis. We do know it’s the highly pathogenic – H5 – but we don’t know the type. The department had advised us of a third outbreak of avian flu on a commercial egg-laying plant in Tshwane.

Steenhuisen adds, “We don’t know the number of hens involved and will keep you posted. We wish to assure consumers that eggs and broiler meat are safe to consume provided that normal cooking processes are followed and temp exceeding 60° are used in cooking.”

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