Zokwana: Bird flu strain no threat to humans

The Agriculture Department has implemented numerous conditions for the sale and trade of live chickens to curb the spread of avian influenza.

Battery chickens in a poultry farm in Cape Town. Picture: EPA/Nic Bothma.

PRETORIA - The Agriculture Department has implemented numerous conditions for the sale and trade of live chickens to curb the spread of avian influenza.

Minister Senzeni Zokwana made the announcement at a briefing in Pretoria after several Mpumalanga farms identified a strain of the disease in their flocks.

The minister says the department’s vets have responded swiftly to the threat.

"We have placed the affected farms under quarantine and the affected birds have been euthanised and the eggs destroyed. Approximately 260,000 birds have been culled."

He says that the department met with the SA Poultry Association to permit the sale of live chickens under strict conditions.

"The sellers of live chickens, including the commercial as well as the traders who buy and sell those chickens must register with the Poultry Disease Management Agency. Only registered sellers and buyers are allowed to trade and it is the responsibility of both the seller and buyer to ensure their counterpart is registered."

The minister stressed that the current strain in South Africa is not a threat to humans and all meat currently on shelves is safe for consumption.