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Western Cape Poultry Owners, Farmers Urged To Be Proactive To Prevent Spread Of Avian Flu

Western Cape Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer said poultry owners and farmers must be proactive in preventing the spread of avian flu.

No new cases have been reported in the Western Cape since June this year.

But Meyer said that the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus which caused seven outbreaks in the province a few months ago was still a threat.

The MEC said that poultry owners and farmers must remain on high alert.

Following the recent detection of the H7 high pathogenicity avian influenza in Gauteng and three other provinces, poultry owners in the Western Cape are being urged to be proactive in the prevention of the spread of the disease in the province.

State veterinarian, Dr Lesley van Helden, said that over 1.3 million birds were culled in the Western Cape as a result of the avian flu outbreak.

“With the high number of outbreaks elsewhere in the country, we urge poultry producers to observe strict biosecurity measures.”

Van Helden also warned that as a safety measure, birds should not be moved between provinces.

Officials also warned that although the risk of avian influenza to humans remains low, the public should avoid touching dead birds.