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WC farmers urged to implement strict measures to fight bird flu

This is the first time that the Western Cape is dealing with the highly pathogenic avian influenza in the poultry industry.

Picture: sxc.hu

CAPE TOWN - Farmers in the Western Cape have been urged to immediately put strict measures in place to combat an outbreak of bird flu.

Officials suggest that access to farms under quarantine be restricted as far as possible.

At least 46 ostrich farms in Heidelberg and Oudtshoorn have been placed under quarantine and more than 200,000 chickens have died or been culled since the outbreak in August.

This is the first time that the province is dealing with the highly pathogenic avian influenza in the poultry industry.

State vet Aileen Pypers says that most farmers are unprepared.

“Although we are equally concerned about the poultry and ostrich industries, the reason we are so concerned now is because it’s the first time the poultry industry has to deal with this.”

This strain of bird flu was first detected in Mpumalanga in June.

Officials say it could lead to job losses and escalating food prices.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)