Avian flu has decimated South Africa’s poultry industry with more than 7,5 million chickens having to be slaughtered in recent weeks, making this the biggest avian flu outbreak this country has every experienced.
The virus was detected in April in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, then spread to other provinces. The South African Poultry Association (Sapa) said the country was affected by two strains of the virus, H5N1 and a new strain identified as H7N6.
Avian flu and your pet chickens
Dr Bennie Grobler, veterinarian at EberVet Pet Clinic in Strand and at Stellenbosch University, said there is no vaccine for bird flu and the only way chicken owners can protect their animals was by keeping them isolated and not moving them for the time being. “Wild waterfowl harbour this disease; wild geese and ducks and other wild birds are implicated in the spread as are humans that have been in contact with birds either infected by or carrying the disease.”
It is advisable not to adopt or purchase new chickens until this latest bird flu outbreak has been eradicated.