South Africa Bans Sale of Live Hens to Contain Bird Flu

Henrietta Brewer
June 27, 2017

The ban, which also affects street traders, is the department's attempt to contain the outbreak, after the highly contagious influenza strain was detected at a breeder site in Mpumalanga last week.

SA Poultry Association CEO Kevin Lovell said the disease is carried to poultry by wild birds.

"To date, no human cases of infection with avian influenza H5N8 have been reported".

A general ban has been placed on the sale of live spent hens across the country and SA's trading partners and the World Organisation of Animal Health have been informed of the outbreak.

The department has confirmed a second case of avian flu in Mpumalanga, this time in Standerton.

The farm, which has not been named yet, has been quarantined and the affected animals have been already been culled there. Government is in the process of mounting a risk-based survey of the wild bird population to establish possible primary source of the Avian Influenza, with an external worldwide specialist support team expected in the country this week. "We stepped up bio-security at all our chicken and feed operations; increased surveillance methods such as testing our own chickens, rural poultry as well as wild birds and restricting movement of personnel between farms". "Commercial poultry operations and backyard poultry owners should avoid the introduction of pathogens through contaminated clothes, footwear, vehicles or equipment used in waterfowl hunting".

The Department of Agriculture, Forestries and Fisheries (DAFF) is providing veterinary support including diagnostics, surveillance and control measures. The highly pathogenic virus killed 7 000 chickens, but the company had to de-populate by slaughtering 142 000 birds to prevent the spread of the disease.

"It will be largely smaller farmers who sell live birds and people who sell live chickens in the township areas".

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