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South Africa bans Zimbabwe chicken imports over bird flu

South Africa has suspended trade in birds and chicken products from Zimbabwe after an outbreak of the highly contagious bird flu at a commercial poultry farm near Harare.

This follows similar moves by Botswana and Mozambique this week.

Zimbabwe announced an outbreak of the H5N8 bird flu at a farm owned by Irvine’s, the  biggest chicken breeder in the country last week but said the disease had been contained.

“…South Africa immediately suspended all trade in live poultry, meat and table eggs and communicated this to the Zimbabwean Chief Veterinary Officer. South Africa imports very little product from Zimbabwe, all importers were immediately notified that their import permits or any permits which have not been used should please be returned to the Department with immediate effect,” said the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ Veterinary Services in a statement.

The department added: “We have heightened inspections of all consignments, including all private and public vehicles at all our ports of entry, especially in and out of Zimbabwe.”

In Zimbabwe, the bird flu virus was detected on a farm with 2 million birds and killed 7 845 chickens while another 140 000 birds were killed according to a report from the veterinary services department.

Avian influenza is a virus that occurs naturally among wild aquatic birds worldwide and it affects domestic poultry and other birds and animal species.

The disease can only be transmitted to chickens by direct contact with an infected bird, manure or contaminated equipment.-The Source

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