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Progress with managing the Avian Influenza outbreak in the ostrich industry

The South African Ostrich Business Chamber (SAOBC) is thankful to have learnt that the seventh round of surveillance for the H5N2 Avian Influenza virus in the Klein Karoo Valley since April 2011, proved to be negative - and thus being counted as the first of the two negative rounds needed for the authorities to declare the end of the current disease outbreak.

"We really want to express our gratitude towards the officials from both the national – and provincial departments of agriculture (Veterinary Services) for their diligence and tireless efforts in dealing with this outbreak according to the international requirements", said Anton Kruger, CEO of the SAOBC.

According to the Campaign Manager, Dr Pieter Koen the eighth round of surveillance will commence on 1 February and the results are expected by the end of February. Should this round also yield negative results on the almost 200 ostrich farms in the area, it might be possible for the Director: Animal Health to declare the end of the outbreak.

The ostrich industry is grateful towards the Minister of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) for the compensation of almost R50 million that was paid to Ostrich farmers for the culling of about 41 000 ostriches to try and eradicate the disease. "The guidance and leadership of the Director: Animal Health, dr. Mpho Maja, and her staff, as well as the day-to-day operational tasks, being performed by Provincial officials are highly appreciated", said Kruger.

"We realise that this is a very complex disease to manage, especially since ostriches are being farmed extensively in the open, but are internationally regarded as poultry", said Kruger. The industry acknowledges that the decisions taken by Government to manage the disease according to international requirements are not easy and therefore the SAOBC operates in close collaboration with the Government officials. An example is the development and implementation of new bio-security modules to which ostrich producers must adhere to minimise and mitigate risk. The industry will look different after this episode.

Enquiries: Anton Kruger

Tel: 044 272 3336
Fax: 044 272 3337
E-mail: akruger@saobc.co.za

Source: South African Ostrich Business Chamber

  Article Date: 23 January 2012


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