A total of 46 ostrich farms under quarantine
WESTERN CAPE There are currently 17 properties which have been confirmed to be infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), strain H5N8, 46 ostrich farms are under quarantine and an excess of 200 000 chickens have died or been culled in the province. This is according to an update on the status of avian influenza in the province by the Western Cape Government on Thursday 7 September. Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities and the state vet team were deployed to deal with the outbreak. Farms are urged to put strict biosecurity measures in place immediately. “We need the cooperation of the entire affected sector – private and public – if we are to win this battle,” said Winde. In respect of the above-mentioned cases, the formal notification process has been concluded and these cases can, therefore, be made public. The following control measures are in place at the ostrich farms • All farms within 10km of an infected farm are under quarantine; • Movement control of eggs and chicks is in place within the quarantined area; • Slaughter of birds only allowed after a farm has tested negative; • In total, 19 farms are under quarantine in Heidelberg and 27 in the Oudtshoorn area. The following control measures are in place at the poultry farms • Positive farms are placed under quarantine; • Infected and in contact birds are culled humanely; • Farm is cleaned and disinfected to deactivate any remaining virus before quarantine is lifted; • Increased monitoring and testing if necessary of all properties with birds in a 3km radius surrounding an infected farm As a further control measure, the vets have launched an interactive survey with farmers and bird owners in the surrounding areas of infected properties. Properties who do not complete the survey and who are within 3km of an infected farm, will be visited by an animal health technician. Biosecurity is the most important method of preventing avian influenza from spreading. Faremers are urged to implement the following measures with immediate effect: • Keep poultry and other birds away from wild birds and their body fluids, through keeping them indoors, or using screens, fencing or nets; • Access to your property should be restricted as far as possible; • Vehicles should be disinfected upon entering and exiting your property • Do not allow any people who have had contact with poultry in the last 48 hours onto your property; • The use of footbaths upon entry and exit to the poultry house; • Remove items that attract wild birds such as mortalities or spilled feed; • Preferably do not handle other birds, and disinfect your hands or any in-contact clothing afterward. Winde said: “One of my biggest concerns is the impact of this outbreak on the economy. The ostrich sector provides around 15 000 direct jobs and indirectly 100 000 people depend on this sector for their livelihoods. We know the decreased supply of poultry products in the market will also put pressure on food prices; a further strain on households.” To support workers at affected farms where culling may have taken place, the state vets are liaising with the Department of Social Development to ensure social workers are made available to support affected workers. Recommendations from the OIE regarding the role of compensation in disease control indicate that compensation should only cover direct losses and do so at a level between 75% and 90% of market value. “Although we have no reported cases of people being infected with this strain of avian influenza, we are urging people in contact with infected birds to take precautions. We need the cooperation of the public to stop the spread of this disease.” Poultry workers and abattoir workers and those who dress their own poultry are most at risk. People should only handle dead bird carcasses with gloves, or disinfect their hands after handling carcasses. Poultry products from grocery stores are safe for consumption.
There are currently 17 properties which have been confirmed to be infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza.