Tak­ing the lead in pre­vent­ing avian flu

The New Age (Gauteng) - - NEWS - KUTULLO MADISHA ku­tul­lom@the­newage.co.za

THE Na­tional Zoo­log­i­cal Gar­dens of South Africa (NZG) is tak­ing the lead in pre­vent­ing avian flu from af­fect­ing its birds, the zoo’s man­ager of con­ser­va­tion and an­i­mal col­lec­tions, Tracy Rehse, said yes­ter­day.

She said this at a work­shop, which dis­cussed a pos­si­ble out­break of avian flu in zoos as well as its im­pact on hu­man health.

“Al­though there have been no cases of this vi­ral dis­ease found among the zoo’s birds we are tak­ing ad­di­tional biose­cu­rity mea­sures to min­imise the risk of our birds con­tract­ing avian in­fluenza. We are also work­ing with the au­thor­i­ties to de­velop pro­to­cols that will be im­ple­mented should any of our birds test pos­i­tive for the virus,” she said.

Avian flu is not con­sid­ered a zoonotic dis­ease but could have the po­ten­tial to evolve into a dis­ease that is passed from hu­mans to an­i­mals and vice versa.

Hu­mans are con­sid­ered to be a large con­trib­u­tor to the spread of the dis­ease. Avian in­fluenza is a highly con­ta­gious vi­ral dis­ease that af­fects both do­mes­tic and wild birds.

The work­shop was hosted to­gether with the Gaut­eng prov­ince One Health work­shop, which con­sisted of pro­vin­cial govern­ment, univer­sity pro­fes­sion­als and staff of zoo­log­i­cal gar­dens to dis­cuss the lat­est out­break of avian in­fluenza.

Gaut­eng’s One Health team con­sists of the de­part­ment of agri­cul­ture and ru­ral de­vel­op­ment, Gaut­eng pro­vin­cial health de­part­ment, the Univer­sity of Pre­to­ria Fac­ulty of Vet­eri­nary Sciences, the Pan African As­so­ci­a­tion of Zoos and Aquaria and the On­der­stepoort Vet­eri­nary In­sti­tute. There are now 13 con­firmed cases of bird flu in Gaut­eng.

Af­fected ar­eas in­clude Benoni, Van­der­bi­jl­park, Tsh­wane and Ekurhu­leni. The first out­break of avian in­fluenza was de­tected in July on a poul­try farm with three sites and a to­tal of around 400 000 layer hens.

Last month Gaut­eng MEC for eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, agri­cul­ture and ru­ral de­vel­op­ment Le­bo­gang Maile pledged to sup­port the poul­try in­dus­try to re­cover from the bird flu out­break.

A team of ex­perts has been de­ployed to all the af­fected ar­eas to promptly elim­i­nate the dis­ease and re­vive the poul­try in­dus­try in the prov­ince. A to­tal of 77000 birds have been culled and more than 2 mil­lion eggs de­stroyed in a bid to curb the spread of the bird flu. One Ger­mis­ton farm is un­der quar­an­tine.

The pro­vin­cial govern­ment is en­gag­ing the na­tional De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture, Forestry and Fish­eries to pro­vide fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance.

PIC­TURE : ISTOCK

SAFE AP­PROACH: The Na­tional Zoo­log­i­cal Gar­dens of South Africa hosted the One Health work­shop which dis­cussed a pos­si­ble out­break of avian flu in zoos and the dan­ger it poses to hu­man health.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.