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SA Poultry Association concerned over bird flu in Zimbabwe

Suppliers in SA are highly concerned that their livestock is in jeopardy following an outbreak of avian flu in Zimbabwe.

Picture: Freeimages.com

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Poultry Association says its concerned about the possibility of South Africa losing 140 million chickens to bird flu should the virus spread from Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe announced an outbreak of the H5N8 strain of bird flu at a poultry farm east of Harare last week and Botswana has already banned poultry imports from that country.

Mozambique followed soon after.

Suppliers in South Africa are now highly concerned that their livestock is in jeopardy following an outbreak of avian flu on a poultry farm in Zimbabwe.

At least 715,000 chickens died in the Mashonaland province due to the virus.

The South African Poultry Association's Kevin Lovell says they're not taking the matter lightly and systems are in place to stop any possible danger.

“We are most certainly worried, this is the first time that Zimbabwe has had a highly pathogenic avian influenza in its chickens. It had in ostriches once before as has South Africa. But we’ve never had it in South Africa in chicken either and that means we are still at risk.”

Lovell says they are working with government as well.

“Government has had a contingency plan in the event of an avian influenza outbreak since the mid-2000s.”

He says that research is currently being conducted to determine whether the virus is being spread by wild birds moving over borders or by human activity.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)