Chicken sales stopped after bird flu virus breaks out

By Charlea Sieberhagen
26 June 2016

A highly pathogenic bird flu virus, called H5N8, was confirmed on a chicken farm in Mpumalanga on Thursday.

Live chicken hens may not be sold until further notice.

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said in a statement that the trading of hens is forbidden after a highly pathogenic bird flu virus, called H5N8, was confirmed on a chicken farm in Mpumalanga on Thursday.

The farm was placed under quarantine and the infected birds were killed.

According to Bomikazi Molapo, spokesperson for the department, the virus spreads fast and can infect multiple different birds. It is also highly contagious.

“The virus infects many birds and can spread through contact with the infected birds and through the consumption of infected food or water,” reads the statement.

According to Molapo, the department is investigating all movement to and from the farm in order to determine where the virus is coming from.

Other areas in Mpumalanga and the Free State that could be hit by the virus are also being looked at.

State veterinarians are inspecting neighbouring farms in a 3km to 27km radius from the affected farm, to determine what the condition is of the birds on those farms.

Only chicken products that received permits from the state veterinarians may be transported from the farms, says Molapo.

There have been no reported incidents of humans who have contracted the H5N8 virus.

But those working with the sick or dead chickens should wear protective clothing and wash their hands with disinfectants.

“There is still no effective treatment for the virus and the infected birds should be killed, to prevent the virus from spreading.”

Netwerk24 reported earlier this month that South Africa prohibited the importing of chicken, dead or alive, as well as eggs from Zimbabwe. This comes after the bird flu virus H5N8 was detected on one of Zimbabwe’s biggest poultry farms, Irvine, over the weekend.

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