Monday 16 October 2023
Following the recent detection of the H7 high pathogenicity avian influenza (HPAI) in the Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Free State and Limpopo provinces, Western Cape poultry owners are continuously encouraged to be proactive in the prevention of the spread of HPAI to the Western Cape.
Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, also warns that the H5N1 HPAI virus that caused seven outbreaks in the Western Cape from April to June 2023, is still a threat from wild birds.
Minister Meyer said, “In the past three months the Western Cape hasn’t experienced any further outbreaks in the commercial poultry industry. All the outbreaks reported in the period between April and June have been resolved. Whilst under quarantine, the farms had been depopulated, cleaned and disinfected twice with the State Veterinarian’s inspection. The quarantine was lifted, and the outbreaks were reported as resolved and disclosed to the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) and the World Organisation of Animal Health (WOHA) respectively.”
Minister Meyer continued, “It is very unfortunate and a blow to the Western Cape poultry industry that the first case of H7 High Pathogenicity Avian Influenza (HPAI) was diagnosed yesterday in the George area of the Western Cape. This follows the introduction of chickens from an infected province in the North. The George farm has been quarantined and culling on the farm has already started.”
Western Cape poultry owners are urged to heighten biosecurity measures as far as possible and be extremely cautious as to bringing in any new chickens or allowing visitors or vehicles into poultry farms. Moving chickens from infected provinces should be avoided at all costs as this has a severe impact on the entire Western Cape province if more cases of H7 HPAI are detected,” added Minister Meyer.
State veterinarian and Director of Animal Health, Dr Noluvuyo Magadla continues to appeal to poultry owners to adhere to the following general recommendations to prevent transmission of the disease between farms, which include:
- Discouraging interprovincial movement of birds and advising farmers to avoid these movements until avian influenza outbreaks are under control;
- Ensuring that you only bring healthy poultry onto your property;
- Keeping new birds completely separate for two weeks and only mixing with your other birds if they remain healthy;
- Not allowing anyone onto your property who has had contact with poultry in the previous 2 days;
- Not visiting poultry owned by others;
- Cleaning and disinfecting vehicles upon entering and exiting properties of mud;
- Using footbaths to disinfect footwear when entering and leaving a poultry house; and
- Keeping poultry away from wild birds and their body fluids.