Teams collect sick and dead birds following Avian Influenza outbreak

Earlier this week Bergrivier Municipality had been identified as a hotspot area with reports of dead birds from Velddrif to Arniston as well as additional hotspots on Dyer Island and Robben Island.

FILE: The has been an outbreak of Avian Influenza along the est Coast and the Overberg.

CAPE TOWN - Clean up operations will continue over the weekend following an outbreak of Avian Influenza among wild seabirds primarily along parts of the West Coast and the Overberg.

Teams have spent the past few days collecting dead and sick birds.

Earlier this week Bergrivier Municipality had been identified as a hotspot area with reports of dead birds from Velddrif to Arniston as well as additional hotspots on Dyer Island and Robben Island.

Western Cape Environmental Affairs MEC Anton Bredell has urged members of the public to avoid the areas and to refrain from collecting or touching sick or dead animals to prevent the spread of the disease.

"It remains critical to conduct thorough clean up operations to work hard and fast to prevent the spreading of the virus to other parts of the province. Teams are still collecting dead sea birds particularly in and around the Bergrivier Municipality area and more specifically around Velddrif" said Bredell's Spokesperson James-Brent Styan.

Styan said the numbers are decreasing.

"The numbers are much lower which is a very good sign from 1000 dead birds that were collected on Wednesday we only collected 100, we certainly hope that this trend continues and that the numbers continue to drop".

The current virus strain was detected in wild birds in May mainly affecting gulls. The first cormorants were only diagnosed with the disease in mid-September and cases have increased rapidly over the past week.

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