Following the update on 25 August 2017 from the PDMA on avian influenza, further outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza of the H5N8 type have been confirmed. This brings the number of reported outbreaks to forty three.
The breakdown is as follows: thirteen outbreaks in commercial chickens, eight outbreaks in commercial ostriches, fourteen outbreaks in wild birds, four outbreaks in birds that were kept as a hobby and four outbreaks in backyard poultry. Quarantine has been instituted on all affected properties and the usual disease control measures have commenced. The new outbreaks in commercial poultry are in the Western Cape and Northwest Province.
Farmers are once again encouraged to observe strict biosecurity measures during this time to prevent introduction of the disease onto their farms. If farmers require assistance they should contact their veterinarian or a state veterinarian.
Members of the public are also requested to report any sightings of higher than usual levels of chicken or wild bird mortalities to authorities.
Members are also reminded that this strain has been found not to be dangerous to humans and the birds affected are a
very small percentage of the total South African chicken flock. At this stage there is still a limited impact on chicken and egg supply and industry is actioning contingency plans to ensure continuity of supply.
Forward and backward tracing
Work in this regard has resumed. A database has been developed to enable backward and forward tracing. This work will be extended to include a near real time visualisation of the current outbreak of H5N8. This will assist decision makers with the management of the disease. Additionally, a tracing study based on a sample of affected farms is being initiated. This will provide much needed information to the industry and other role players on the movement of people, feed and other factors that play a role in the spread of AI.
Economic impact analysis
SAPA has engaged the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP) to do the economic impact analysis of the disease. Work has started and the team has opted for a questionnaire to be sent to producers to assist with the required information. The questionnaire is under review and will be sent out to affected producers in the next week.
Aproposal for consideration by DAFF has been developed and shared with DAFF; however the working group is still enriching the proposal to ensure that it correctly captures a realistic vaccination exit strategy. The working group is due to meet next week.
The impact of vaccination on imports note was finalised and distributed for consideration.
Hatching egg imports
DAFF has released a draft protocol for comment by the time you read this. The proposal has been shared with the Poultry Vets Group of SAVA for the vets to comment. The proposal indicates the two options, namely the application of stringent measures once the eggs get to SA, and the application of the measures in the source countries through an approval system. The proposal also details quarantine specifications.
DAFF is still in the process of finalising a compensation guideline for consideration. The industry should receive communication in this regard by next week. SAPA will continue to engage Minister Davies and other role players to assist the industry to ensure business continuity.
Registration of live chicken traders and reconciliation forms
The online registration platform continues to attract farmers and traders of live birds for both registrations and monthly reconciliations.
Currently two hundred and fifty nine (259) producers and three thousand three hundred and sixteen (3316) live bird traders are registered on the platform. To date, 1586 reconciliations have been received. We appeal to producers to assist live bird traders who have no access to the internet to register on-line and complete their reconciliations online.
Producers are reminded not to sell to traders that have not filed their monthly reconciliation forms. Upon filing a reconciliation form, traders are issued a confirmation they must produce when purchasing live birds. Role players are once again encouraged to comply with this control measure.¡
For any further information or enquiries, please contact PDMA Director Dr Ziyanda Majokweni by email at ziyanda@sapoultry. co.za or call on 084 616 6084.