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Poultry sector announces second avian flu outbreak

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The SA Poultry Association has announced a second outbreak of HPAI that has occurred on a broiler breeder farm on the East Rand.

File picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African New Agency (ANA)

THE SOUTH African Poultry Association (Sapa) announced a second outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) that has occurred on a broiler breeder farm on the East Rand of Johannesburg.

The association said the farm was under quarantine and the birds were being culled and disposed of under Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) supervision.

Sapa said that this outbreak was in the same compartment as the first layer hen outbreak, and was not expected to materially affect the trade restrictions already in place from the neighbouring countries.

“The effects on the ongoing supply of broiler meat are minimal, and consumers are assured that broiler meat and eggs remain safe to eat provided proper cooking protocols are observed, with temperatures exceeding 60ºC achieved.”

The initial outbreak of avian flu H5 on a layer farm on the East Rand was identified as HPAI H5N1. This was not the same strain experienced in June 2017.

However, any outbreak of HPAI was treated as extremely serious and virulent, and the poultry industry remained in a state of high alert, Sapa said. Quarantine protocols remained in place on the farm concerned.

The company concerned made the responsible decision to cull all 240,000 hens to protect surrounding farms and the South African poultry industry in general.

All biosecurity measures remained in place. The replacement cost of these hens was R20 million.

A second outbreak of HPAI H5 was reported on a North West broiler breeder farm, which had culled 7,000 broiler breeder birds. Last week, the dead birds were sent to Onderstepoort Veterinary Research Institute for analysis and sequencing.

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