Bird flu cases rise to 56 in Western Cape

The Western Cape provincial government reports that there have been 56 confirmed cases of avian flu in that province during the current outbreak.

The Western Cape provincial government reports that there have been 56 confirmed cases of avian flu in that province during the current outbreak.

At this stage last week, 50 cases had been confirmed. The Western Cape government and other relevant stakeholders have done all they could to get a firm handle on this outbreak and indications are that the interventions are starting to yield some positive results.

Among those interventions has been the culling of birds in that province – an activity which has also had a negative impact on the industry. However, this is among some of the tough decisions that have had to be taken under the circumstances.

“There are just over 4.2-million layer hens in the Western Cape, meaning we have lost 63 percent of our egg laying poultry,” said Minister of Economic Opportunities Alan Winde on Friday.

Other areas of the country have managed to rid themselves of the virus in the past month but the Western Cape is not quite there just yet. Winde and his department are not going to be taking any shortcuts either.

“We have received reports that farms in Gauteng have started restocking, after their properties have shown to be 100 percent free of the virus. We will be monitoring this process closely,” explained Winde.

“State vets in the Western Cape are also working with farmers to disinfect chicken houses. We can only start restocking at properties once there are no traces of the virus. We are calling on farmers to work with us in this regard.”

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