Following earlier announcements of outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Gauteng and North West, a broiler breeder farm in the Worcester area has tested positive for this disease.

The affected farm is under quarantine, and the process of humanely culling the affected chickens is underway. The Western Cape government urges the participation of the public and the agricultural sector in preventing the spread of this disease.

It is essential to report sick or dead birds, both wild birds and poultry, to chief state veterinarian, Dr Lesley van Helden on 021 808 5017 or Lesleyvh@elsenburg.com.

Farmers and poultry producers should be vigilant in their biosecurity measures to prevent potential virus introduction from wild birds or their faeces. Here are a few tips:

  • Farmers should restrict access to their properties as far as possible.
  • It is crucial to keep poultry and other animals away from wild birds and their body fluids through screens, fencing or nets.
  • Avoid introducing the virus through contaminated clothes, footwear, vehicles or equipment used in waterfowl hunting.
  • Upon entering or exiting properties, disinfect vehicles.
  • Do not allow any person who had contact with poultry in the last 48 hours onto your property.
  • Use of footbaths upon entry and exit to the poultry house to disinfect footwear.

We do advise caution when handling or slaughtering potentially infected poultry. Poultry workers, abattoir workers and those who dress their poultry should only handle bird carcasses with gloves or disinfect their hands after handling carcasses.

For further information about the veterinary services available at Elsenburg, click here. – Press release, Western Cape Department of Agriculture