Zimbabwe and Namibia ban SA poultry imports

Zimbabwe and Namibia have banned poultry imports from South Africa after an outbreak of bird flu.

Zimbabwe has indefinitely banned poultry products from SA following an outbreak of the H5N8 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in the Free State and Mpumalanga provinces of SA, reported The Herald, quoting the director of Zimbabwe’s Department of Veterinary Services, Dr Joshpat Nyika.

Banned products include hatching eggs, table eggs, frozen chicken and mechanically de-boned meat, according to Nyika.

Zimbabwean officials will wait for their SA counterparts to let them know when the problem has been solved.

Namibia’s Directorate of Veterinary Services said on Tuesday that it has suspended SA poultry imports.

It said it has suspended the import and in transit movement of live poultry, birds and poultry products from South Africa and Belgium. This includes ostriches and ostrich products. The suspension is in line with Namibia’s Animal Health Act, it said.

Cooked poultry meat products from SA for commercial purposes may, however, still be imported to Namibia under a revised veterinary import permit.

This is the first outbreak ever of H5N8 among South African chickens.

On Monday night, South Africa’s Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) confirmed a second case of avian flu in Standerton, after the first outbreak in a broiler breeder site near Villiers last Thursday.

The department has also increased its passive surveillance and urged commercial and backyard farmers to report any cases of large numbers of bird deaths to the nearest state vet. This will allow the department to send veterinary officials for a follow-up investigation, and to collect samples.

The two affected farms are not directly linked, meaning this is a separate introduction. At the moment, wild ducks migrating from Europe are suspected to have spread the flu.

According to Dr Charlotte Nkuna, senior executive at the South African Poultry Association, it poses a serious threat to SA’s poultry industry and southern Africa as a whole.

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