SA commercial poultry farm hit by avian flu outbreak

Around 300 birds died of avian flu at the commercial chicken-layer farm.
Image: Shutterstock

An outbreak of avian influenza has been detected on a chicken farm in South Africa’s central province of Gauteng, the agricultural ministry said on Tuesday.

Around 300 birds died of avian flu at the commercial chicken-layer farm in Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg, with samples from the farm testing positive for the H5 strain, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development said in a statement.

The birds in the affected house at the farm were destroyed and the farm placed under quarantine while veterinary authorities investigate the extent of the outbreak.

The same farm had also been affected by the 2017 outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N8 strain of avian flu, which saw poultry farmers culling millions of birds and prompted neighbouring countries including Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana to ban poultry imports from South Africa.

The H5N8 strain of avian influenza is highly pathogenic among fowl but poses little risk to human health.

The department warned poultry farmers to be on the lookout for signs of the disease and report any suspicions to the nearest state veterinarian.

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