Although no new outbreaks of avian influenza have been reported since the previously confirmed cases, South Africa’s poultry and ostrich industries remain under national high alert with strict biosecurity measures in place.
An appeal has also been made to hobbyist keepers of any birds, including poultry, to remain vigilant and report any signs of illness in their birds to their veterinarian, the South African Poultry Association (SAPA) said on April 30, noting that the avian influenza is also an airborne virus and is not restricted to infection only by contact.
Trade restrictions imposed by South Africa’s neighbours have relaxed somewhat or remained the same, with Botswana reducing its national ban to the affected farms only, Namibia restricting imports from the one affected compartment on the East Rand of Johannesburg and Lesotho restricting imports from Gauteng. Swaziland has restricted the affected compartment, and Mozambique has no official restrictions in place.
SAPA further noted its gratitude, adding that while the financial impact on the farms affected is significant and has had a severe negative effect on the farmers, avian influenza incidents have not increased this past week.
“The support of the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development and all veterinary staff involved have been invaluable,” the association said.
Supplies of both poultry meat and eggs remain fully stocked, with less than 1% of the bird stocks producing poultry meat and eggs affected by avian influenza to date.
Consumers are, however, advised that while poultry meat and eggs remain safe to eat, that they should be cooked properly according to acceptable cooking protocols, achieving temperatures above 60 °C.
No products from the infected farms were placed in the market, SAPA confirmed.