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Mossel Bay Avian Influenza outbreak under control 2

26 July 2006

The outbreak of Avian Influenza in ostriches, in the Riversdale district of the Western Cape Province, has been brought under control by culling (euthanasia and disposal of) of 8 000 ostriches. Follow up investigations show no sign of disease in the area surrounding the outbreak.

The routine, ongoing surveillance and blood testing has unfortunately led to the detection of a small number of farms in other areas of the Western and Eastern Cape Provinces, where it is suspected that ostriches may have been exposed to the virus. No signs of disease were observed on these farms.

The results of increased infection pressure in cold, rainy winter months is not due to the introduction of a new virus and the virus, causing the outbreak, is not identical to the H5N2 ostrich isolate responsible for the Avian Influenza outbreak in ostriches in the Eastern Cape Province in 2004. This implies that no chronic carrier situation exists in ostriches in South Africa. The country is also still free of the H5N1 virus that has been diagnosed in the Far East, Europe and North Africa.

The Department of Agriculture and the Provincial Veterinary Services together with the Ostrich Industry embarked on an eradication and control campaign according to international guidelines. The public must please be understanding and cooperate with movement control measures that they may encounter. These measures will be communicated by the local press to all communities involved.

All commercially available ostrich and poultry products remain safe for human consumption.

Source: Department of Agriculture

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