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Farmers urged to increase bio-security measures as bird flu spreads

Four farms have been affected by bird flu in South Africa with over 200,000 birds culled.

Picture: Freeimages.com

JOHANNESBURG - The Agriculture Department is pleading with farmers across the country to increase bio-security measures after confirmation that bird flu has reached a Germiston Farm.

The department says that it has informed all poultry producers about preventative measures, as the virus is difficult to control because it is usually spread by wild migrating birds.

Four farms have been affected by bird flu in South Africa with over 200,000 birds culled. The Agriculture Department has also banned the sale of live chickens until the H5N8 strain has been eliminated.

The department’s Bomikazi Molapo says: “We’re investigating each and every case reported to us, where people report high cases of bird mortality. But the two that we’ve now confirmed came back positive.”

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.

Last month, Agriculture Minister Senzeni Zokwana 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.

Additional reporting by Pelane Phakgadi.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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