Outbreak of bird flu in South Africa not H5N1
A small outbreak of avian influenza was detected on an ostrich farm
about 30km west of Mossel Bay in the Western Cape, according to the Department
of Agriculture and Land Affairs.
The farm where the bird
virus was detected had been put under quarantine and all sixty ostriches
on the farm had been destroyed, the department added.
said it was hoped that the outbreak would be curtailed rapidly and
that South Africa's export status for ostriches and poultry would not be
"After a few ostriches became sick, swift reaction by
private veterinarians and laboratories ensured that the outbreak was rapidly
reported to the government veterinary authorities," the department
"Over the weekend, the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute
characterised the virus as an H5N2 strain that is in no way related to the
highly pathogenic H5N1 strain that has caused large-scale poultry mortalities in
the Far East, Europe and Northern Africa," the department said.
H5N2 strain that was detected near Mossel Bay seemed similar to the one that
South Africa eradicated successfully from ostriches in 2004/2005 and that never
crossed over to chickens. South African ostrich and poultry meat remains safe
for consumption," the department added.
The National and Western Cape
province departments of agriculture, with full support from industry and the
local disaster management structures, took immediate and effective action, the
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