Bird flu detected in Eastern Cape

At least 40 cases of bird flu have been confirmed since an outbreak in June.


CAPE TOWN - The first cases of bird flu have been detected in the Eastern Cape.

The deadly H5N8 influenza strain was picked up on a poultry farm in the Uitenhage area. About 5,000 birds have had to be culled.

Meanwhile, there have been no reports of fresh avian influenza outbreaks in the Western Cape. Tens of thousands of chickens and ducks have died or had to be culled in recent weeks, while jobs have also been lost.

At least 40 cases of bird flu have been confirmed since an outbreak in June.

Hundreds of thousands of birds have perished or been culled across the country since the H5N8 strain was detected.

The Department of Agriculture, Forestries and Fisheries confirmed cases of bird flu to the World Organisation for Animal Health.

Poultry Disease Management Agency's Director Majokweni says according to public documents, 43 cases have been detected.

“We’ve had 13 outbreaks in commercial poultry, we’ve had eight outbreaks in commercial ostriches, 14 outbreaks in wild birds, four outbreaks in birds that were kept as a hobby and four outbreaks in back yard poultry.”

Late last month, Agriculture Minister Senzeni Zokwana said guidelines would be released on 1 September for affected farmers to claim compensation, but these have yet to be published.

The Democratic Alliance wants Zokwana to tell Parliament how his department plans to halt job losses due to bird flu.

Additional reporting by Ilze-Marie le Roux.