South Africans urged not to panic over bird flu outbreak in Mpumalanga

The outbreak of avian flu was first announced in Zimbabwe earlier in June, prompting the South African government to quickly halt imports from that country.

According to officials, the H5N8 is highly contagious, the most damaging type and lethal to poultry. Picture: Pixabay.com.

JOHANNESBURG - The Agriculture Ministry and other organisations say South Africans should not panic after an outbreak of avian influenza, otherwise known as bird flu in Mpumalanga.

The outbreak of the H5N8 bird flu was detected in the province on Thursday.

At least 5,000 birds have died of the highly contagious disease and the remainder at the 24,000 birds farm are in the process of being culled.

The outbreak of avian flu was first announced in Zimbabwe earlier in June, prompting the South African government to quickly halt imports from that country.

However, the government cannot stop wild birds from migrating from Zimbabwe to South Africa.

But the Agriculture Department’s Bomikazi Molapo says there is no need to panic.

“All that needs to be done is for all farmers to adhere to the biosecurity measures.”

The South African Poultry Association’s Kevin Lovell says human beings are safe.

“This particular strain of the disease has been in Europe for well over a year and it hasn’t caused any problems for people.”

Agrisa’s Johannes Moller said: “It’s certain to say that there’s no danger or real danger for humans.”

There are various strains of avian flu and according to officials the H5N8 is highly contagious, the most damaging type and lethal to poultry.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)