June 8 2017 – SA has banned trade in all birds and chicken products from Zimbabwe on (today) Thursday after an outbreak of H5N8 bird flu was reported over the weekend.
“All importers were immediately notified that their import permits are any permits which have not been used should please be returned to the Department with immediate effect,” South Africa’s Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ (DAFF) said in a press statement.
“We have heightened inspections of all consignments, including all private and public vehicles at all our ports of entry, especially in and out of Zimbabwe,” it added.
Communities have been urged to be extremely vigilant, especially in areas of the Limpopo Province that neighbour Zimbabwe, and report any unusual mortality of chickens or other birds to the State Veterinary Services immediately for samples to be collected.
The South African Poultry Association (SAPA) told Xinhua on Thursday that his association worried of a potential loss of 140 million chickens to bird flu in the event that the virus spread from Zimbabwe.
“We are so concerned, this is the first time that Zimbabwe has had a highly pathogenic avian influenza in its chickens. We’re at risk,” says SAPA CEO Kevin Lovell.
According to a state-controlled newspaper, The Herald, the virus was detected on a farm in Zimbabwe with 2 million birds in Lanark and killed 7,845 animals.
“The affected site is close to a small dam where there are a number of different migratory waterfowl, which are tentatively suspected to be the source of infection,” the Herald reported.
The WHO says although humans can be infected with the H5N8 virus, the likelihood is low, adding that to date, no human cases of infection with influenza H5N8 have been detected,” says the WHO. – Xinhua