Dreaded H7 now also in Western Cape


The dreaded H7 variant of bird flu has now also spread to the Western Cape.

This after chickens on a farm in George tested positive for the disease on Thursday.

According to a reliable source in the industry, around 4,200 laying hens are affected.

The Western Cape government confirmed the outbreak on Friday and said the chickens tested positive after chickens were brought from a farm in the north of the country to the farm in George. “The farm is currently under quarantine and the chickens are being culled,” said Dr. Ivan Meyer, Minister of Agriculture in the Western Cape, said.

He says it is a “pity” that H7 has spread to the Western Cape after farms in that province have not reported any incidents of the deadly virus in the past three months.

“Chicken owners in the Western Cape are warned to step up their biosecurity measures as far as possible and to be extremely careful about bringing any new chickens onto their farms. The transport of infected chickens from other provinces must be avoided at all times, as this can have an enormous impact on the entire province if any more cases of the H7 variant are found here.”

According to the South African Poultry Association, more than five million laying hens and 2.5 million broilers were culled by Tuesday due to bird flu. The total (7.5 million chickens) is between 20% and 30% of the national number. Gauteng and Mpumalanga are currently the worst affected.