Published Date: 2004-08-17 23:50:00
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Avian influenza, ostriches - South Africa (05)
Archive Number: 20040817.2281
AVIAN INFLUENZA, OSTRICHES - SOUTH AFRICA (05)
A ProMED-mail post
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International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2004
From: ProMED-mail <email@example.com>
Source: AFP via IOP, South Africa, 17 Aug 2004 [edited]
Bird flu spreads through Eastern Cape
An outbreak of bird flu in the Eastern Cape is believed to have spread to
more ostrich farms, forcing the slaughter of several thousand more birds,
the main ostrich farmers' association said on Tuesday.
After slaughtering 6000 ostriches on the 2 affected farms, agriculture
ministry officials moved to put down 4000 other birds in 5 neighbouring
properties in the Eastern Cape, said the South African Ostrich Business
Chamber (SAOBC), which represents 600 ostrich farmers in South Africa.
Culling started on the 2 original farms in the Somerset East area a week
ago, but the agriculture ministry has said as many as 30 000 ostriches
could be put down in a 30 km radius.
"The national department of agriculture has confirmed that the culling of
ostriches in the Eastern Cape province has moved beyond the 2 farms that
were initially infected," SAOBC general manager Anton Kruger said. He added
that samples were taken from the ostriches that died on the 5 new farms and
the farmers were still awaiting the test results to confirm avian influenza
as the cause of death.
The government will pay compensation to the farmers and agri-economists are
still in the process of calculating the losses. Tests conducted in the
first week of August found traces on 2 farms of the mild strain of avian
influenza, H5N2. The agriculture ministry has said [it] is not harmful to
A more virulent strain of bird flu, H5N1, hit Asia this year, killing 24
people and leading to the deaths or culling of almost 200 million birds.
The outbreak prompted the European Union and Switzerland to ban imports of
ostrich meat from South Africa, the world's biggest exporter of the
product. South African ostrich farmers have warned that the slaughter and
an export ban on all poultry meat and products could cost the ostrich
industry about R100-million [15.5 million USD] in losses.
This is not the 1st time that South Africa has grappled with bird flu.
There have been outbreaks in the early 1990s that were contained, according
to the agriculture ministry.