Bird flu detected at Witfield Dam

According to the chief state veterinarian at the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Duma Mpofu, a dead bird at Witfield Dam tested positive for the H5N8 strain of the virus a few weeks ago.

This is the only bird to have died from the virus and it remains unclear if the other wild birds are also infected.

Mpofu said his department is monitoring the area and encourages members of the public to report any suspicious deaths of wild birds at Witfield Dam or elsewhere to him personally on 071 543 3028.

He also urges residents who own poultry to avoid wild-bird areas.

Mpofu confirmed that there is a reported case of poultry affected by bird flu on a privately owned farm in Fredebos, near Vosloorus, but declined to identify the farm, saying he is not allowed to reveal that information without the property owner’s consent.

The Gauteng MMC of Economic Development, Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development, Lebogang Maile, visited this farm on October 10.

The farm has been severely affected by bird flu and it is reported that thousands of birds were culled there.

Our sister newspaper, the Benoni City Times, also reported that the avian influenza was recently detected in Benoni.

According to the report, the disease is only present in wild waterbirds, such as geese, and there had been no reported cases of domestic or commercial birds being infected in the area. [email protected]

  • Bird flu, also called avian influenza, is a viral infection that can infect not only birds, but also humans and other animals. Most forms of the virus are restricted to birds. H5N1 is the most common form of bird flu. It’s deadly to birds and can easily affect humans and other animals that come in contact with a carrier. According to the World Health Organization, H5N1 was first discovered in humans in 1997. Currently, the virus isn’t known to spread via human-to-human contact.
Fanie Mthupha

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