Infectious Diseases 2004

Infectious Diseases 2004

South Africa: More ostriches will have to be culled in the Eastern Cape

6 December, 2004

More than 2 000 ostriches will have to be culled on three farms at Graaff-Reinet, in the Eastern Cape, as a precaution against the spread of avian flu after birds on one of the farms contracted the disease.
The department of agriculture says the latest outbreak is probably as a result of an exchange of birds in the area. It has been monitoring one of the farms for some time and the ostriches on two neighbouring farms will also be killed as a precautionary measure.
The ostrich farming industry suffered a blow in August when the virus was discovered on farms in the Grahamstown district and at Middleton near Somerset East. To prevent the flu from spreading, farms were cordoned off and nearly 24 000 ostriches, as well as some domestic birds, were culled. Exports of ostrich products have been put on hold, until the virus is eradicated.
The department compensates farmers for all ostriches culled, but their breeding stock is often irreplaceable.