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Bird flu spreads to the Western Cape

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The Western Cape department of agriculture on Tuesday said bird flu (Avian influenza) has been positively diagnosed among birds on two ostrich farms.

Veterinarians from the provincial department of agriculture detected Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) during routine testing.“Both farms were placed under quarantine immediately, and no birds are allowed to enter or leave the affected properties. There are around 1,000 ostriches on both farms,” said Bronwynne Jooste, the spokesperson for Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities.

To ensure the accuracy of the first test, and because the ostriches are not showing any clinical signs of the illness, vets continued their testing campaign. There have been no reported bird deaths in the area. “At this stage, it appears that the incidence has been confined to the two properties. Farms within 3km of the affected farms will be placed under quarantine and testing in the surrounding areas will continue,” said Jooste, adding that no decision to cull had been taken and discussions were ongoing.

It is suspected that wild birds are the source of the infection.

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