Bird flu case to set industry back - Mulder
Deputy Agriculture Minister Pieter Mulder is worried about latest bird flu case in the Western Cape.
CAPE TOWN - Deputy Agriculture Minister Pieter Mulder on Wednesday said he was disappointed following reports of a fresh outbreak of bird flu in Oudtshoorn.
He said the case may set the ostrich industry back even further.
Agriculture officials were carrying out tests on birds on a farm in the Klein Karoo Valley where the H7N1 virus was detected.
While a European Union (EU) ban on ostrich meat exports is still in place, this is the first new case of avian flu in the country in several months.
Mulder said he hoped the strain would not pose a major threat.
"The last information that I heard was that we are not exactly sure as yet about the strain and the complications. I'm hoping we can isolate the case if the results are positive, but it's too early to say anything."
Meanwhile, Southern Cape police could not say whether five men arrested in connection with a spate of ostrich feather theftS in Oudtshoorn were part of a syndicate.
More than 100 birds have been targeted for their valuable feathers in recent weeks.
In some cases, the animals were killed.
The police's Malcolm Pojie said, "We cannot confirm whether they are involved in a syndicate, but we will investigate all possibilities."