Published Date: 2006-07-06 00:00:00
Subject: PRO/AH> Avian influenza, ostriches - South Africa, H5N2 (02)
Archive Number: 20060706.1856
AVIAN INFLUENZA, OSTRICHES - SOUTH AFRICA, H5N2 (02)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2006
From: ProMED-mail <email@example.com>
Source: Sapa-AP and Reuters via Business Report, Johannesburg, 6 Jul
A Western Cape farm had been placed under quarantine and all 60 of
its ostriches culled in a bid to contain an outbreak of avian
influenza, the department of agriculture said this week.
Tests at the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute confirmed the
presence of the H5N2 strain of bird flu, regarded as less dangerous
than the H5N1 strain that has affected birds across Asia, Africa and
Europe, and continues to occasionally infect humans.
Authorities acted quickly to contain the outbreak, which was believed
to be confined to the farm near the southwestern coastal town of
Mossel Bay, said the department.
"It is hoped that with the support of all role players, the outbreak
can be curtailed rapidly and that South Africa's export status for
ostriches and poultry will not be affected," the department said.
"Negotiations with our trade partners have started."
The EU had banned imports of ostriches, emus and their meat from 2
districts in South Africa after a strain of bird flu was found on a
farm in the country's southwest, an EU executive said yesterday [5
The ban will remain until the end of October 2006 and applies to live
ostriches, emus, their eggs, meat and meat products from Mossel Bay
and Riversdale in the Western Cape.
A similar outbreak in the Eastern and Western Cape between 2004 and
2005 was eradicated after a quarantine was imposed and more than 26
400 birds were culled at 37 farms.
In November 2005 the EU resumed ostrich imports from South Africa
after it declared itself free of H5N2 bird flu -- a strain that is
deadly to animals but, unlike the "Asian" H5N1 variety, not to humans.
Since no birds, poultry or poultry products were authorised for
import into the EU from South Africa at the moment, a ban was not
necessary for these products, said the European Commission.
The Eastern and Western Cape are home to some of the country's
largest ostrich farms -- an industry that brings in R1.2 billion [USD
167 million] in export earnings annually.
South Africa supplies about 70 percent of the world's ostrich meat --
about 950 000 tons a year. Ostriches are mostly used for their meat
and feathers, and to make oil and leather. Ostrich leather is used in
the production of clothing items, bags and luxury vehicle interiors
[Preliminary data on this outbreak were included in South Africa's
notification to the OIE, dated 3 July 2006 -- see archive
20060704.1834 below, including Mod-PC's comment.
A statement of South Africa's Department of Agriculture, cited by
the Cape Times of 4 Jul 2006, said that "The H5N2 strain that was
detected near Mossel Bay seems rather similar to the one that South
Africa eradicated successfully from ostriches in 2004 and 2005, that
never crossed over to chickens. South African ostrich and poultry
meat remains safe for consumption". (see
Further reading: Sinclair, M, Bruckner, GK & Kotze, JJ. Avian
influenza in ostriches: epidemiological investigation in the Western
Cape Province of South Africa. Veterinaria Italiana, Vol 42 (2),
April-June 2006. - Mod.AS]