Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries update report on HPAI H5N8 outbreak in South Africa

Update report � HPAI H5N8 outbreak in South Africa

On the 7th August 2017 another case of HPAI H5N8 was detected in a commercial layer farm in Mpumalanga Province in the Steve Tshwete Local Municipality. Control measures were applied and all birds culled.

The first cases of HPAI H5N8 in Ostriches were confirmed in two commercial ostrich farms in the Western Cape Province in the Hessequa Local Municipality on the 9th August 2017. Quarantine has been instituted and the application of disease control measures have commenced.

These recently detected outbreaks bring the total number of outbreaks to 16; eight of which were in commercial chickens, three outbreaks in wild birds, two outbreaks in commercial ostrich, two outbreaks in backyard poultry and one outbreak in birds that were kept as a hobby.

The Department has received requests to vaccinate and these requests are under consideration. As can be appreciated, all possible pros and cons have to be carefully assessed in order for a decision to be reached. At the moment, vaccination against Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza is prohibited for the long term benefit of the poultry industry at large.

The Department has applied for additional funding to deal with the disease control measures, including compensation where applicable.

Auction houses, buyers and sellers are still required to register with the Poultry Disease Management Agency (PDMA) to ensure traceability. Furthermore, gatherings of chickens should be avoided but in instances where this cannot be avoided, all registration requirements must be complied with.

The continued cooperation of the public and the poultry industry, in the timeous reporting of sick and dying birds to Government Veterinary Services, is vital for the speedy response and the necessary investigations in order to effectively manage the disease threat. DAFF will pay for samples which have been submitted by the State Veterinary Officials to the Onderstepoort Veterinary Research of the Agricultural Research Council. DAFF thanks the public and the poultry industry for their support in this regard.

Source: Government of South Africa