Disease kills 100s of chickens in North West

2012-03-09 20:11
Johannesburg - A viral infection disease outbreak called Newcastle has killed more than 170 chickens in the North West, the provincial department of agriculture and rural development said on Friday.

The outbreak in the Greater Taung Local municipality, Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District has so far caused the deaths of about 140 chickens -belonging to five farmers - in the Pudimoe village, said spokesperson Bonolo Mohlakoana in a statement.

Additional cases were reported in Leshobo village where more than 25 chickens were reported dead within a week.

Agriculture MEC Boitumelo Tshwene has expressed his concern to the department's state veterinarians and urged farmers to report any mortality cases immediately.

"There is no need however, for other poultry farmers in the province to panic since measures have been taken to control the spread of the outbreak, in that the trading and movement of chickens and turkeys or their products within or between the affected villages is currently prohibited," he said.

Mohlakoana said vets would go to the affected areas on Friday to start a vaccination programme.

"There is no treatment for Newcastle disease currently, therefore prevention through vaccination is important," she said.

Newcastle disease is a contagious and fatal disease caused by a virus that affects domestic birds (chickens and turkeys) as well wild birds.

The disease spreads from infected birds to healthy ones through bodily discharge like droppings and discharges from the nose, the mouth and the eyes.

Other materials carrying the virus can be picked up on shoes and clothing and spread to healthy chickens.

Mohlakoana said common signs of the disease included coughing, twisting of the head and neck, greenish diarrhoea and sometimes sudden death.

Taung residents were asked to report suspicious cases immediately to the Greater Taung state veterinary office on 053-994-2238 or 053-994-3826.

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