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OUTBREAK OF AVIAN INFLUENZA (BIRD FLU) IN THE UNITED KINGDOM

8 February 2007

An outbreak of highly pathogenic notifiable avian influenza (Ďbird fluí), caused by the H5N1 subtype of the virus has killed 1500 turkeys on a farm in Suffolk, United Kingdom. The British Government placed the farm and the surrounding area under quarantine and has destroyed the turkeys to contain the disease.

South Africa immediately placed an embargo on the importation of all live poultry and poultry products from the UK until further notice. Poultry products subjected to a process complying with international requirements to ensure the satisfactory inactivation of the avian influenza virus are excluded from the suspension. En route consignments from the UK will be detained at the ports of entry and veterinary import permits have been cancelled.

South Africa has had an extensive surveillance programme in place since 2005 and all commercial and non-commercial chickens and commercial ostriches are regularly tested.

South Africa remains free from H5N1 avian influenza. The poultry and ostrich meat that is available on supermarket shelves in the country is safe to eat. All poultry meat should always be cooked until the pink colour has disappeared.

Source: Department of Agriculture

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