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Gauteng residents urged not to panic over bird flu

Over 200,000 birds have been culled and the Agriculture Department has banned the sale of live chickens until the H5N8 strain has been eliminated.

Chicken. Picture: sxc.hu

JOHANNESBURG – Gauteng residents have been urged not to panic after confirmation that bird flu has now spread to the province.

Neighbouring countries, including Botswana and Zimbabwe, have already banned South African chicken imports following the detection of avian flu in the Free State and Mpumalanga last month.

Over 200,000 birds have been culled and the Agriculture Department has banned the sale of live chickens until the H5N8 strain has been eliminated.

The South African Poultry Association's Kevin Lovell says: “It’s not a human health issue, it’s an animal health issue. It can become an animal production issue if it keeps spreading. It doesn’t have a major impact right now. It could have a major impact if it keeps going.”

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)