There has been a great deal in the news headlines about the case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N8 discovered on a broiler breeder site in Mpumalanga on June 22, followed by a second outbreak in Standerton on the 26th June, this time affecting egg supplies too.
An estimated 260 000 chickens have been culled, and the department of agriculture has placed a ban on the sale of live chickens. The World Organisation of Animal Health has been informed, as have South Africa's trading partners. Currently Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe have banned the import of SA poultry as a result of the outbreaks.
The outbreaks are believed to have been caused by migratory wild ducks from Europe, according to SA Poultry Association CEO, Kevin Lovell. And while the virus is highly contagious, and cause for concern in the local poultry industry, it is not harmful to humans.