Cape Town – Several farms in the Western Cape have been placed under quarantine after an outbreak of bird flu – meaning no live birds or eggs may be removed from these farms.
The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development on Tuesday confirmed the “outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI)” also known as bird flu.
“To date, a total of five HPAI outbreaks were confirmed in commercial chicken farms in the Western Cape Province,” the department said in a late communique attributed to Spokesperson Reggie Ngcobo.
“All affected farms have been immediately placed under quarantine and no live animals/birds and eggs are allowed to be removed from the farm.
“The department would like to reassure consumers that commercial poultry meat and eggs are safe to eat.
“Care should, however, be taken when preparing food to avoid other food-borne pathogens.”
Birds infected with HPAI get sick fairly quickly and die.
Generally, the first sign of sick animals, including birds, is a drop in production, meaning that sick birds will produce very few eggs (if any), explained the department.
“‘This, together with the added mitigation of placing farms under quarantine, means no eggs from infected properties will make their way to shelves,” the department said.
“We strongly encourage all poultry farmers including those with birds kept as a hobby or for zoo purposes to adhere to strict biosecurity measures to prevent the introduction of HPAI.
“We also urge farmers and individuals to report any suspected outbreak to the responsible private or state veterinarian.”
Some shops are already warning customers of an egg shortage, owing to the outbreak of bird flu.