South Africa has now also closed its borders to poultry from Zimbabwe after an outbreak of deadly bird flu.
Botswana and Mozambique have already imposed bans on poultry imports from Zimbabwe
“South Africa immediately suspended all trade in live birds and poultry, meat, table eggs and other unprocessed poultry products and communicated this to the Zimbabwean Chief Veterinary Officer,” the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said in a statement.
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) last week reported the outbreak of the H5N8 virus on Irvine’s commercial farms in Zimbabwe’s Mashonaland East. Irvine’s is one of the largest poultry producers in Zimbabwe.
The company has since released a statement saying the disease is contained. The flock on the affected farm was culled and disposed of according to veterinary regulations.
DAFF advises the public to immediately report any abnormal mortality of chickens or birds to the State Veterinary Services.
There is no vaccination registered against the H5N8 virus in South Africa and farmers are advised to refrain from vaccinating their poultry.
DAFF warned poultry owners, including informal farmers to “observe minimum bio-security measures to prevent the disease in their birds, such as limiting exposure to wild birds by providing feed and water indoors or at least underneath a low solid roof”.
It said farmers should prevent poultry from drinking from common water sources where wild animals might be present.
DAFF advises commercial farmers to increase bio-security measures and to limit access to people who possibly have contact with birds off the farm. They should also increase clinical and serological surveillance.