Breaking News, Health, South Africa

Control measures implemented to prevent the spread of bird-flu

Avian influenza (HPAI) H5N8 outbreak in South Africa

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has confirmed a highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N8 in a broiler breeder site in Mpumalanga.

Avian influenza (Bird-flu) is a rapidly spreading viral disease that can infect many types of birds and 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 said the affected farm has been quarantined and culling of the affected animals has been completed.

The department has also established a 30km control zone in Mpumalanga and Free State.

Control measures implemented to prevent the spread of the disease: 

  • A complete standstill of movement of poultry and poultry products on the infected farm(s). Nothing is to enter or leave the farm.
  • Birds at the infected sites will be euthanized humanely.
  • State Vets are conducting inspections starting with all the farms within a 3km and a further 27 km (30km) radius around the affected farm to gather information on the health status of the birds.
  • Poultry and poultry products may only move from these farms with a State Veterinary Permit.

To date, no human cases of infection with avian influenza H5N8 have been reported, however the department warned people handling wild birds, sick or dying poultry to wear protective clothing and wash their hands with disinfectants.