Disease

Bird Flu in South Africa

A single outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza of the H5N8 type has been isolated on a farm near Villiers.

According to the South African Poultry Association, this strain of the virus has its origins in Europe and has been infecting European poultry for more than a year.

In May, it was isolated in Zimbabwe. The disease is spread primarily by water fowl that carry the disease in the highly pathogenic form, the association said.

The affected farm is near the Vaal River and it is likely that the disease is present in other parts of South Africa in wild water birds, especially ducks.

The public is requested to report any sightings of high levels of large wild bird or backyard chicken mortalities, the association urged.

The farm has been isolated and culling of the birds on the affected site has commenced. Some 28 000 birds are to be culled.

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