Vol.23 No.101

Friday 7 July 2006    
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Bird flu now in SA

Staff Writer

7/7/2006 4:52:24 PM (GMT +2)

The department of Animal Health and Production yesterday announced that there is an outbreak of avian influenza (H5N2) in ostriches in Western Cape province of South Africa.

The disease is still limited to a single ostrich farm, which is under quarantine. As a result, Botswana has prohibited with immediate effect the importation of all poultry eggs and unprocessed poultry products from South Africa until further notice. An official at the animal health and production said that other departments have been given a statement on the importation ban. Information has reached the districts and regions at all borders. Customs officials are on alert and will work hand in hand with the department officials to clear animal products. According to BuaNews, the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute in South Africa has identified the virus as an H5N2 strain that is not related to the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain that has caused large scale poultry mortalities in the Far East, Europe and Northern Africa. The strain is reportedly similar to the one that South Africa eradicated from ostriches in 2004/2005. The virus did not cross over to chickens. Last year March, the European Commission suspended imports of live ostriches and their eggs, meat and products and pet birds after strains of influenza H5N2 were found in South Africa. The second outbreak was found in the eastern Cape and after extensive surveillance the ban was lifted. According to WHO, Avian influenza refers to a large group of different influenza viruses that primarily affect birds. On rare occasions, these bird viruses can infect other species, including pigs and humans. Send us your comments about Mmegi newspaper Search For Old Newspaper Editions To advertise contact us through email

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