Harare – Zimbabwe has reportedly banned all poultry products from South Africa following an outbreak of avian flu in Mpumalanga and Free State provinces.
According to the state-owned Herald newspaper, the department of veterinary services director, Dr Josphat Nyika, said the banned products included hatching eggs, table eggs, frozen chicken and mechanically de-boned meat.
"The ban remains in force for an indefinite period of time up to when the South African veterinary official would have indicated that the problem has been resolved," Nyika was quoted as saying.
Avian flu was confirmed in Mpumalanga over the weekend, with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries announcing the ban on the sale of live hens.
''We have placed a general ban on the sale of live hens across the country until further notice,'' department spokesperson Bomikazi Molapo said.
This was after a highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N8 was confirmed in a broiler breeder site in Mpumalanga on Thursday June 22.
'HPAI is a rapidly spreading viral disease that can infect many types of birds and it is highly contagious. It exists naturally in many birds and can be transmitted by coming into contact with infected animals or through ingestion of infected food or water,'' the department explained.
A second case was confirmed at a farm in Standerton on Monday.
"The virus is the same strain as the initial case reported, but the two farms are not directly linked, meaning this is a separate introduction," said department spokesperson Bomikazi Molapo.
The farm had been placed under quarantine and over 25 000 infected birds would be culled.
Eggs were not allowed to move off the farm.